If you were to believe every word that Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman was saying yesterday, you would believe that the Birds are sold on draft running back Ezekiel Elliot in the first round. On the other hand, Roseman may be trying to reel in a sucker or he simply wants to keep other teams in the dark about what they’re going to do with that eighth pick in the first round.
The Eagles could use another quality running back to add to the injury-prone Ryan Mathews, aging Darren Sproles and the unaccomplished Kenjon Barner. They need to draft a running back, but when is the key.
The Birds may be trying to get in position to make a deal with somebody who is anxious to move up for Elliot. Perhaps Roseman was to re-aquire that second round pick that Chip Kelly traded away to the Rams for Sam Bradford. Here’s what he had to say yesterday in favor of drafting Elliot.
“There’s this narrative that you can get running backs in the fifth, sixth, seventh round and undrafted free agency,” Roseman said. “But when you look back at the last 10 years of guys that are really in the top 10 in rushing, those guys are high picks.
“And so, when you find a special talent at that position, that guy who can run the ball, who can pass protect, who can catch the ball out of the backfield, that’s a unique weapon.”
“There’s a difference between a special player and a role player at that position,” Roseman said. “Those guys [Lewis, Brown, Polk] are good players, but when you’re talking about the guys who are 1,500-yard rushers, the guys people are game-planning [for], those are hard to get later in the draft.”
Elliot has proven through his years at Ohio State, at the Combine and at the Ohio State Pro Day, that he is that special back. He is a Game Changer in that a team can run most of their offense through him. He will create match-up problems for defensive coordinators and that will make every player on offense better because of his presence.
Still do you use the eighth pick on a running back, when you’ve got huge needs on your offensive line and dominant young offensive tackles are still on the board? That is the question for Roseman and Doug Pederson as Philadelphia prepares for this year’s draft.