Disagreements within an organization are frequent and at times healthy. Challenges more often than not bring out the best in one another, but egos have to be set aside; a common goal and philosophy need to be shared. From all reports, it is believed that Howie Roseman (GM), Doug Pederson (HC) and Joe Douglas have that kind of relationship.
It is widely known around the league that Howie Roseman isn’t the easiest person to work with and it has been freely admitted by Roseman that there a lot of strong personalities in the room, but a shared fervor for team construction and a willingness to listen has allowed for unequivocal synergy.
A shared set of beliefs has also aided in team building and has more than likely helped through some tough conversations. One such philosophy, according to Daniel Jeremiah (in a recent interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer), is their passion for “building in the trenches.”
While the hiring of Douglas would be overwhelmingly positive, it is fair for Jets fandom to wonder if Gase and company will develop a similar bond. Will their philosophy’s match? Will their personalities complement each other?
Jets fans should be hopeful. It is already perceived around the league that Douglas and Gase have a good relationship. Still, it’s not yet known how the dynamic between Gase, Douglas and the rest of the front office will work, but Douglas’ proclivity for putting differences aside and rallying around the team concept is a positive sign; Douglas routinely involved Doug Pederson and made decisions based on the coach’s system.
It’s hard to evaluate the success of a draft after a couple of seasons, but let’s take a look at what Douglas and Roseman have done in the short time he’s been there (2016-2019).
(2017 Draft): Eagles traded their 2017 1st round pick as part of a deal for Carson Wentz, but the Eagles made up for the loss with a draft day miracle when they traded Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a first-round pick. Overall, as of right now 2017 looks like an underwhelming draft. However, it’s produced one solid role player at CB and a pair of picks in the first and second round that still have tremendous upside. Whatever Douglas and Roseman missed in this particular draft they more than made up for it in free agency and trades, as they put together several pivotal moves that resulted in a Super Bowl victory.
Derek Barnett (Round 1, DE) – Roseman and Douglas were both very high on Derek during the draft process. He had (5) sacks and (16) QB hits as a sub-package player his rookie year. He also made the game-ending fumble recovery which secured the Super Bowl victory for the Eagles. Second season was cut short but had a promising 2.5 sacks and 11 QB hits in the six games before his injury. Eagles are still very high on Barnett and moved on from Michael Bennett with the expectation he lives up to his potential.
Sidney Jones (Round 2, CB)– Eagles took a chance with a 1st round talent that tore his achilles in a pre-draft workout. The nagging achilles injury followed by hamstring issues has derailed his first two seasons and at this point, he’s only made (4) starts. On June 2, 2019, Rotowire reported that Jones has been practicing with the 1st team defense as the slotted #1 corner. The jury is still out on Jones but this is positive news. This will be a defining year for him.
Rasul Douglas (Round 3, CB) – His (12) starts are the most by any player drafted during Douglas’ time with the Eagles. Pro Football Focus ranked him 29th (CB) this past season with a 72.5 overall grade, which is an improvement from his rookie year (64.1). He also saw his snap count raise from 40.97% to 52.41%. I doubt Douglas makes a pro bowl anytime soon but he has a solid role on the team and you’ll take that from a third-round pick.
Donnel Pumphrey (Round 4, RB) – Pumphrey was a draft favorite by many but he was placed on the IR in 2017 and subsequently waived. Pretty disappointing pick when you consider how many stud RB’s were available in the 2017 draft.
Mack Hollins (Round 4, WR) – Hollins battled injuries his first couple of seasons missing all of 2017 with an injury that required surgery. So far, the most notable thing he did as an eagle was return DeSean Jackson’s jersey number (10) this offseason. The trade for Jackson and the selection of Arcega-Whiteside in the draft doesn’t look good for Hollins. He’ll have a hard time getting on the field even when healthy.
Shelton Gibson (Round 5, WR) – A developmental player that Roseman decided to keep despite sloppy play. It will be a surprise if he makes the final 53-man roster.
Nathan Gerry (Round 5, SS) – He’s made (2) starts in his career, but overall seems like “just another guy.”
Elijah Qualls (Round 6, OT) – On September 1, 2018, Qualls was waived by the Eagles.
2018 Draft: Eagles came away with a stud TE, a 4th round steal at CB and added depth to an already stout offensive line.
Dallas Goedert (Round 2, TE) – Goedert had an impact as a rookie making (8) starts, playing almost 50% of the snaps and posting 33 receptions, 334 receiving yards and 4 TD. Goedert is a solid blocker, a good route runner, demonstrates the ability to understand coverages and is very versatile. Expect to see him in multiple spots on the field and featured in the two TE sets Pederson likes to run. If Ertz misses time this season expect Goedert to “fly, eagles, fly.” He’s a great late round selection in fantasy as well. After QB, TE is the hardest transition to make in the NFL and it appears that Dallas is trending in the right direction.
Avonte Maddox (Round. 4, CB) – Maddox has made (9) starts so far in his career and there is a lot of buzz about his growth and potential. He can play numerous positions: slot corner, outside corner, free or strong safety. It appears as of now that the Eagles got a steal in the 4th round.
Josh Sweat (Round 4, DE) – Injuries have kept Sweat off the field, but with Chris Long retiring and the Eagles “next man up” mentality, Sweat has a chance to make an impact this year.
Matt Pryor (Round 6, OT) – and Jordan Mailata (Round 7, OT) are solid depth players for a team that already has one of the best O-lines in the league. The Eagles have been a perennial stud up front for over a decade and it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone if one or both ends up contributing.
2019 Draft: With only (5) picks in the draft the Eagles selected three of my favorite players: Dillard, Sanders and Arcega-Whiteside. Considering the lack of selections in the 2019 draft, the Eagles from my standpoint hit a home run.
Andre Dillard (Round 1, OT) – Dillard was Daniel Jeremiah’s number 12 overall player entering the draft. With an aging Jason Peters protecting Wentz’s blindside, Douglas and company didn’t hesitate to address the position. This selection helps provide continuity at the O-line and is a perfect pick for a team devoted to “building in the trenches.”
Miles Sanders (Round 2, RB) – After Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders was believed by many to be the best back in the draft. Waiting in the wings behind Saquon Barkley (at Penn State), Sanders didn’t flinch when given the opportunity. He tore up the combine running a 4.49 forty, 20 reps at the bench and 6.89 3-cone drill. Douglas traditionally hasn’t looked to draft RB this early. The fact that he selected one this high speaks volumes about their expectations for Sanders. Paired with Jordan Howard, the Eagles look to have a strong core at RB.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Round 2, WR) – I wouldn’t be surprised if J.J. ends up the best WR in this class or at the very least a solid #2. He can line up at a spilt end, flanker or in the slot. Sometimes it takes time for a young WR to make an impact, but I could see J.J. contributing as early as this season, especially in the red zone. Agholor (who could be traded) has shown some flashes but he should prepare for a long winter, J.J. is coming.
Shareef Miller (Round 4, DE)– Miller’s ability to bull rush and collapse the pocket is exactly what the Eagles look for from a defensive player at his position. He’s still raw but is very much in the same mold as Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. With Long retiring, Miller along with Sweat will get their chance to shine.
Clayton Thorson (Round 5, QB)– Thorson was projected to go as early as the second round in the 2018 draft, but after an ACL tear, he returned to school. Thorson was a four-year starter who could end up a decent backup or a potential starter if Wentz can’t stay healthy.
Undrafted Free agents, Free agents and Trades:
It’s difficult to ascertain every player Douglas had a role in acquiring outside of the draft, but it’s safe to assume Roseman consulted with his VP and main talent evaluator.
In a recent podcast with Scott Mason, Vince Quinn (WIP Sports Radio) raved about Joe Douglas. He mentioned his hand in acquiring Jay Ajayi for a 4th round pick in the Super Bowl season, bringing in LeGarrette Blount (14 carries for 90 yards, 1TD in Super Bowl) after the draft, and recently trading a 5th round pick for Jordan Howard (a player Douglas may have had a hand in drafting with the Bears).
Quinn praised Douglas for being instrumental in obtaining Alshon Jeffrey, who’s been a great overall addition to the team, but also posted 3 rec. for 73 yards and TD in the big game.
Quinn went on to call Joe’s influence “the Douglas affect” which includes a gift for identifying quality cornerbacks, particularly the versatile 4th round pick Avonte Maddox and unrestricted free agent, Cre’Von LeBlanc. This should be music to ears of a Jets fanbase clamoring for an upgrade at CB.
Another player identified by Douglas, Treyvon Hester, played a huge role in the playoff game against the Bears this past season and made a play that catapulted them into the next round.
It also appears that Douglas had his hand in signing Chris Long (DE), trading a 5th rounder for Michael Bennett (DE) and bringing in Corey Clement (RB, 2017) and Josh Adams (RB, 2018 starter) as unrestricted free agents. Clement, in particular, was part of a RB committee that lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl (2017) and had 4 rec., 100 yards and 1 TD in the big game.
It’s clear that Douglas has had a huge influence on the success of the Eagles and in March of 2017, Owner Jeffery Laurie said that Douglas’ hiring, “was the pivotal moment of the last year.”
The impact Douglas would have on the Jets is yet to be determined. However, it is clear that he is more than qualified for the position. Prior to working with the Eagles, Douglas was Director of College Scouting for the Bears and spent 16 years with the Ravens in their personnel department.
While with the Ravens, Douglas was lucky enough to be around NFL legend Ozzie Newsome (master talent evaluator) and was part of an organization that won two Super Bowls. The Ravens during this time drafted or signed as unrestricted free agents twenty-three players who ended up appearing in at least 1 pro bowl (with the Ravens or another team), including two current Jets (CJ Mosley, Kelechi Osemele) and one former (Bart Scott). He was also part of a draft that brought in Hall of Famer Ed Reed.
Overall, Douglas was part of (3) Super Bowl teams and has been under the tutelage of some of the finest minds in football – Howie Roseman himself is thought of as possibly the best “contract guy” in the NFL – Douglas is revered amongst his contemporaries for his knowledge, character and unquestionable success. Outside of drafting Sam Darnold, the Jets landing Joe Douglas as a general manager would be the finest moment in recent memory.