As the Eagles gathered in the weeks following their January 1, 2016 season-ending victory over the Dallas Cowboys, they reviewed the previous season in every respect and then set their sights on improving the roster, building around franchise quarterback
By the time the contingent of Eagles staff arrived in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl, the plan was largely set. The only substantial change made to that point came on the coaching staff, where Mike Groh was hired to replace Greg Lewis as the wide receivers coach.
The Eagles had, by that time, put their plan for March’s free agency in place. How it would turn out, nobody knew for sure.
“We have our plan and we’re going to execute it and let’s see what happens,” head coach Doug Pederson said.
They also had a draft pick in the first round thanks to the trade in September with Minnesota that sent quarterback Sam Bradford to the Vikings. It would be either No. 14 or 15 in the first round (it turned out to be 14, thanks to a coin flip held at the NFL Scouting Combine) and Howie Roseman talked at the Senior Bowl about his desire to draft a player in Round 1 who would make a huge impact.
“When we look back and look at our drafts, specifically looking at where we were in the 20s, we’ve had some good success 20 and higher. I think there is a line where you don’t get a difference-maker. This is your opportunity, in the first round of the draft, to find a difference-making player,” Roseman said.
Free agency opened in March, and immediately the Eagles sent the message that they were serious about helping…
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