Eagles looking to build around Carson Wentz ‘piece-by-piece’

Mar 1, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Carson Wentz is the centerpiece of the Philadelphia Eagles and Howie Roseman is using him to their advantage.

This year wasn’t Howie Roseman’s first rodeo at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. But this year is different than the rest.

Roseman enters the combine this year not having to worry about the quarterback position thanks to Carson Wentz.

"It’s one of the most important positions in all of sports. When you have a guy it changes your perspective on what you need and what your priorities are and you can’t minimize how important it is.To have a guy like that, that you have a tremendous amount of faith in, and the ability to have him as we grow as a football team and as a staff, it’s exciting. It gives us and all of our fans hope of what we can potentially be."

Last year after the combine, the Philadelphia Eagles started to make the necessary moves to acquire Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Philadelphia leapfrogged from the 13th spot on the board to the second spot through trades with the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns.

Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson both echoed that getting a quarterback was a top priority in last year’s draft.

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Since Roseman became the general manager in 2010, there hasn’t been any stability at quarterback. The Eagles have tried every way—signing a free agent, through the draft and trading for one.

Michael Vick signed a $100 million deal with the team in 2011. He recently retired.

The Eagles drafted Nick Foles in the third round in 2012. He’s now the backup for Alex Smith in Kansas City.

Sam Bradford was dealt to Philadelphia two offseasons ago while Chip Kelly took over the personnel reigns in 2015, which obviously wasn’t Roseman’s fault. Bradford’s now the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.

On top of those three, Mark Sanchez, Vince Young and Kevin Kolb have also previously started games for the Eagles in Roseman’s tenure with the team.

Roseman said with those teams they believed they might have only been a couple of players away, and that’s why they were spending big money.

"We’ve never had certainty since Donovan [McNabb] a guy that just was there and we could build around, that we felt confident was kind of the centerpiece."

Roseman used the 2004 quarterback draft class that featured Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger as a blueprint to build around Wentz in the future. He said those teams are still building around those quarterbacks, and he’s right.

The Pittsburgh Steelers recently made Antonio Brown the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL and franchise tagged Le’Veon Bell.

And the building process around Wentz has already started this offseason.

The Eagles are reportedly one of several teams interested in New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots are also reportedly interested. 

But the reports regarding the possible deal have been conflicting.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Saints are telling teams they want a first round pick.  But according Alex Marvez of SportingNews.com, it would only take a second round pick to acquire Cooks.

The Patriots offered the No. 32 pick in the NFL Draft for Cooks, but the Saints declined, according to Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

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Cooks possesses extraordinary speed that allows him to blow by defensive backs and stretch the field. He had as many 40-yard-plus receptions as the whole entire Eagles’ receiving corps last season.

But the Oregon State product doesn’t only stretch the field, he runs every route. Cooks has 75-plus receptions and over 1,100 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons.

Whether the plan to build around Wentz starts with acquiring Cooks, when free agency kicks off on March 9 or at the NFL Draft on April 27, Roseman seems to know what players he wants to surround his franchise quarterback with.

"We’re going to try to build it piece-by-piece and be aware of the risks involved in things Roseman said. And that doesn’t mean we don’t take some risks or have to get through the moment at certain positions, but that’s our plan."