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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 18, 2010

NFL draft: Roseman eager for his first draft as Eagles GM

AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA Howie Roseman spent his first draft with the Philadelphia Eagles sitting in the corner of the war room handling the phone and relaying each selection to a team representative in New York.

He has a much different role now as general manager.

Roseman, promoted to GM when Tom Heckert left for Cleveland, is preparing to preside over his first draft in his new position. It's a crucial one for the Eagles, who have 11 picks, including seven in the first four rounds.

The 34-year-old Roseman joined Philadelphia in 2000 as a salary cap adviser. He dutifully observed the decision makers in the draft room during his early years with the team, and patiently waited for an opportunity to be the man.

"A lot of listening in those early years, listening to the discussions, listening to the thought process, taking notes," Roseman said. "I'm sitting there with my computer and a pad. I thought it was invaluable. It was a great experience for me to see the thought process that went into it. It was a great experience to be in that position in those early years. They had a lot of trust in me."

While coach Andy Reid has final say, Roseman will be right there with him next week. He manages the college and pro scouting staffs, organizes draft meetings and the draft board and scouts the top collegiate players.

It's the culmination of a childhood dream.

"I was lucky in that when I was little I knew what I wanted to do," Roseman said. "When I was seven or eight, I would sit in front of the TV on draft weekend and have my notebooks and do it. This was a direction I always wanted to go into."

When Roseman sat in on the 2001 draft, wide receiver Freddie Mitchell was selected 25th overall. Mitchell wound up a bust, out of the NFL four years later.

Roseman can't afford to make a similar mistake this year. The Eagles have the 24th pick and own two picks in the second round, Nos. 37 and 55. They got the 37th pick in the trade that sent six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb to Washington.

After going 11-5 and losing to Dallas in a wild-card playoff, the Eagles overhauled their roster. They parted with several big-name veterans and shed quite a bit of salary.

Gone are McNabb, former All-Pros Brian Westbrook and Shawn Andrews, Sheldon Brown, Kevin Curtis, Will Witherspoon, Darren Howard and Chris Gocong.

Kevin Kolb steps in for McNabb and he's surrounded by a talented group of skill players, including wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy, fullback Leonard Weaver and tight end Brent Celek. Offense shouldn't be a problem. But the Eagles need plenty of help on defense.

Philadelphia's first pick could be a safety, cornerback or defensive lineman unless a highly rated offensive lineman remains on the board. Roseman is reluctant to draft a player just because he fills a need. He prefers to take the best available player regardless of position.

"If you study the draft, especially in the latter part of the draft, if you take a perceived need as opposed to the best players, you go back and look at those best available players and they go on to become Pro Bowlers," Roseman said. "If this is a long-term decision for your team, you passed on a Pro Bowler. We don't want to be in a position to do that.

"You just take the best player and eventually those players will turn into starters as opposed to taking the need and saying right now we need position X."

If the Eagles stay at No. 24, they could target Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson, Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Florida offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey or Southern Cal safety Taylor Mays.

But Philadelphia is usually one of the most active teams in the draft and could package some extra picks to move up, or possibly even move down.

The format of this draft, with the first round taking place Thursday and the second round starting on Friday, provides teams more time to make deals.

"Because of the lull in time, there will be more trades, moving up and down," Roseman said. "We're excited about that. We think we have a lot of ammunition to do both those things. If the opportunity presents itself, we'll go there."