That incredibly awkward exchange between Howie Roseman and Tom Donahoe on draft night won’t go away. First, the Eagles general manager attempted to provide clarity on the situation and now his senior director of player personnel has chimed in.
Donahoe appeared aggravated on camera by Roseman’s decision to trade down and pick Milton Williams in the third round. It was thought the long-time scout wanted to select cornerback Aaron Robinson at No. 70 but Roseman himself revealed that his target was defensive tackle Alim McNeil.
Rumors aside, the friction between Roseman and Donahoe looked real. Maybe not. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Donahoe didn’t even know he was on camera at the time — that detail alone kind of raises a red flag, no? — and said he was “flabbergasted” that everyone was talking about it. He called the 2021 draft one of the best he’s seen during his 10 years in Philadelphia.
@Eagles sr. advisor Tom Donahoe was flabbergasted about viral video “fist bump” w/ GM Howie Roseman being spun as sign of discord.
“That’s silly. I didn’t even know I was on camera. I thought Howie and Andy Weidl (VP, personnel) led as good a draft as we’ve had in my 10 years.” https://t.co/KS7qlnB5kT
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 4, 2021
Roseman said the notion of him resorting to his personal draft board on the Williams’ pick was ridiculous. Everyone in the organization has input on the rookies.
“That’s ridiculous,” Roseman told SportsRadio 94WIP. “Every single person on our staff has their own draft board. That’s how we write up reports. Nick [Sirianni] has his own draft board, [vice president of player personnel] Andy Weidl has his own draft board, Tom Donahoe has his own draft board, I have my own draft board. That’s how we rank players. That’s how our system is set up, to do that.”
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Williams Describes Pre-Draft Process
Williams was asked directly about his pre-draft interview process with the Eagles on draft night. He told reporters that he talked to an unnamed scout on the phone for about 30 minutes before speaking with Eagles defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. He sensed some interest, but nothing to indicate a third-round selection.
“No, I didn’t have any inclination that this was coming,” Williams said. “I talked to the Eagles. I didn’t talk to them as much as I talked to a couple other teams, but it all worked out in the end. I’m glad to be here.”
I think if we don’t see that war room video, we’re all drooling over the Milton Williams’ pick. Aaron Donald hype and all. But since we saw it, it’s tainted. pic.twitter.com/BZhSR5KTRI #Eagles #FlyEaglesFly
— Michael Greger (@mike_greger) May 1, 2021
And the 6-foot-4, 278-pounder is a “tweener” who is ready to contribute wherever new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon puts him. Defensive tackle or defensive end. It doesn’t matter to him.
“I think I’ll be most comfortable playing defensive tackle, but also having the versatility to play outside,” Williams said. “Basically, any position on the defensive line that the coaches would like to put me at.”
Roseman Further Explains Draft-Day Debate
Since the media wouldn’t let that viral war-room video die, Roseman elaborated even further on the perceived drama. The Eagles had McNeil rated slightly higher than Williams, but once the Detroit Lions took him at No. 72 then the choice was made for them. The back-and-forth with Donahoe was much ado about nothing, according to Roseman.
“We had two guys, two guys standing out on our board. Two defensive linemen,” Roseman told SportsRadio 94WIP. “And they’re different. They’re different flavors. One is a three-technique, one is more of a nose tackle. Obviously, when you have different flavors, everyone likes different flavors.”
— Anthony DiBona (@ByADiBona) May 1, 2021