What surprised Howie Roseman the most about the Eagles' draft

What surprised Howie Roseman the most about the Eagles' draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It may have been the shortest answer of Howie Roseman’s life.

The question: “Would you have been surprised five days ago to look at this class and see that you didn’t draft an offensive lineman until round five?”

The answer: “Mm-hmm.”

Along with cornerback, offensive line was the Eagles’ biggest need going into the draft.

They signed veteran Matt Hennessy to a one-year contract in free agency, but after Jason Kelce’s retirement, after veteran spot starters Sua Opeta and Jack Driscoll signed with the Buccaneers and Dolphins, with Lane Johnson turning 34 in two weeks, with right guard a big, giant unknown, it seemed like a slam dunk the Eagles would draft an offensive lineman somewhere in Day 1 or Day 2.

Maybe a couple.

This draft’s strength and depth on the o-line seemed to match the Eagles’ pressing need. But in the end, for the first time since 2018, the Eagles didn’t draft an offensive lineman in the first four rounds.

“It's just how the board fell,” Roseman said Saturday night. “I think there was a run on offensive linemen in some areas where we didn't pick. When we came back and picked in some of those rounds, it didn't really fit.

“We felt like it was more important to stay true to our board than to just kind of reach.”

You’d rather see the Eagles pass up offensive linemen than reach for one. And it’s hard to argue with Quinyon Mitchell or Cooper DeJean at No. 22 and 40. And the Eagles just liked Jalyx Hunt far more at No. 94 than any offensive linemen. And it's interesting to note that only one of the next 19 players taken after the Eagles selected Hunt was an offensive lineman. Same with Will Shipley in the fourth round. Only one of the next 31 players taken after him was an offensive lineman.

So the league saw things the same way as the Eagles.

Doesn’t mean they got it right, but it does mean they were true to their process, which is the most you can ask for right now.

The Eagles are settled at left tackle with Jordan Mailata, left guard with Landon Dickerson and Johnson at right tackle. They seem convinced Jurgens can handle center. But without a big-time o-line prospect, two gaping holes in the o-line room remain: Competition for Tyler Steen at right guard and a backup offensive tackle.

There was a school of thought that if the Eagles could get one of the top offensive linemen in the draft, he could compete at right guard from Day 1 and eventually replace Johnson.

Instead, the only offensive linemen the Eagles drafted were 5th-round Michigan guard Trevor Keegan and 6th-round center Dylan McMahon and while any o-lineman has a chance at panning out under Jeff Stoutland, they’re definitely long shots.

So as of now, the top backup tackle is Fred Johnson and the inside backups are Hennessy, Keegan, McMahon and Brett Toth. And that’s assuming Steen works out at right guard.

It’s only April, but you know Roseman will continue looking to upgrade.

“I think we have a long time until we play the first game,” he said. “We drafted a guy in the third round last year that we're excited about. We've brought in some guys here that have started before in the league, and competition will bring out the best.

“Again, we like the players we have on the roster, and this process is not complete. It's not going to be complete for a long time at any position, so we're going to constantly be looking. I promise next week we're not taking the week off and sitting at the pool. We're going to be looking at our lists and seeing what's out there, and we'll do that every day until we can't do it anymore.”

“Excited about the two guys that we got (and) excited about a couple of the guys that we signed here in the offseason. Not only in free agency, but getting a guy from a practice squad (former Chiefs 5th-round pick Darian Kinnard) and some of our younger guys. Again, we'll always look to add.”

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