GM Roseman confindent with Eagles'younger players

Kurt Coleman (42), celebrating with Joselio Hanson, has been productive whenever he plays.
Kurt Coleman (42), celebrating with Joselio Hanson, has been productive whenever he plays. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff)
Posted: May 01, 2012

The Eagles seem content to give youth a chance at safety, at least for now.

"We're excited about our group of safeties," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said Monday. "I don't think we need someone with more experience. We feel very comfortable with our group."

Roseman similarly said he feels good about the team's young running backs behind starter LeSean McCoy. His comments came during a wide-ranging meeting with reporters that also touched on his thoughts on drafting quarterback Nick Foles, defensive end Brandon Graham's progress and a few nervous moments during the draft.

Roseman didn't sound pressed to add veterans right now.

At safety, the team is optimistic about Nate Allen, a 2010 second-round pick who showed signs of rounding into form last year. The other safety spot is more of a question mark, with Jaiquawn Jarrett, a 2011 second round pick, and Kurt Coleman the primary options. Jarrett hardly played last year, and Coleman spent a spell on the bench.

"We feel confident that these guys can come in and play at a high level," Roseman said. He hopes Jarrett will benefit from having a full offseason this year.

"When you're a safety, especially a guy like him, whose biggest plus is his ability to see it and go and make an explosive plays, if you got to think that takes you a step back," Roseman said. "Being in an offseason [program], getting in the playbook, feeling much more comfortable is really going to help him."

Coleman, "has been productive every time he's played for us."

The team has also agreed to terms with an undrafted free agent safety Phillip Thomas.

At running back coach Andy Reid has talked about lightening the load for LeSean McCoy. The only other backs on the roster are second-year man Dion Lewis, seventh round pick Bryce Brown and undrafted free agent Chris Polk.

"We feel really good about that spot," Roseman said. "That doesn't mean that if something was there that made sense we still wouldn't look to add there, but we feel really good about them."

There is no pressing need to sign veterans now. With rookie minicamp and offseason practices approaching in May and June the team can first get a look at their young prospects. Veterans can be had later in the offseason or after teams release players.

Graham looks good. Graham, the 2010 first round pick who missed most of last season, looks like a different person after hard training this offseason, Roseman said. Drafting defensive end Vinny Curry in the second round wasn't a shot at Graham, he said.

"I don't see Brandon Graham needing any more motivation than he already has. He knows what's on the line for him. He seems incredibly focused to all of us," Roseman said. Curry in the second round was "by far the best player on our board ... we just felt we were in a position where we had to take him."

Top pick. The Eagles ranked first-round pick Fletcher Cox as the top defensive lineman in the draft, but weren't willing to move up into the top 10 for him, Roseman said, because of the added cost to trade up and sign a player that high.

"Now you're giving up substantially more money, plus picks. And so that factored into the equation . . . not because we didn't value the player but just because it wasn't just getting the player, you're giving up a lot of resources now," he said.

Moving up to 12 was probably the best they could do given what they were willing to give up in a trade, he said.

Nervous about Curry. The team was nervous it was going to miss out on Curry when it moved back in the second round from pick 51 to 59, but the Eagles wanted to recoup the fourth-round pick they had given up to move up for Cox. The added pick turned into cornerback Brandon Boykin, who the team also thought would be picked before they could choose.

"We were sweating that one out," Roseman said.

Taking a chance. With the importance of quarterbacks, the Eagles believe in taking shots at the position, Roseman said. They took Foles in round three.

"At least every couple of years you certainly want to draft one because it's such an important position," he said. "We feel really good about our quarterback evaluators in this building."

They were flexible. Roseman said the team's free-agent moves gave them the flexibility to stick to their rankings and not draft for need. "There's a difference between wanting and have to. And I think that's where we were going into this draft, and it's fun to be able to do that."


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, jtamari@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @JoanathanTamari.

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