SCANNING THE updates on the Internet yesterday, the day before the first round of the now-3-day NFL draft extravaganza, there was a lot of talk about prospects moving up or moving down. Seems odd, since nobody is playing or even working out this week. Shouldn't be a lot of new information to affect rankings.
Most of the "moving down" talk centers on what are called "character concerns." That could mean teams are just finding out about the time the prospect drove his Hummer into a crowd of hookers at 3 a.m. on Bourbon Street while firing an Uzi out the window, or it can mean somebody got one of the prospect's coaches to admit that, in fact, he was not the hardest worker and best leader they'd ever had, that he often slept through practice and had been heard to remark that football would be more fun "without all that blocking and tackling stuff."
Or, the talk could be misinformation, floated by a team interested in said player, an attempt to keep other teams at bay.
"You see all these smokescreens that come out. It's usually from teams that need that particular position, and then they end up taking those guys," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said recently.
Roseman was asked about the way some of the defensive ends in this draft are perceived to have lost ground, because of supposed concerns about their work ethic, their "motor," or their character. Florida's Carlos Dunlap no longer gets into many first-round projections, and USC's Everson Griffen also has slid in mock drafts. The Eagles almost certainly will look to nab a defensive end fairly high, along with a corner, a safety and perhaps an offensive lineman. They have an NFL-high five picks among the first 87 selections, in three rounds. The second and third rounds are scheduled for tomorrow evening, the remaining four rounds for Saturday.
"You kind of be careful what you're reading here in the last 30 days about who is falling and who is not," Roseman said. "But character is important to us, and getting the right guys on our team both on 'O' and 'D.' Obviously we have a young team and we want to surround those guys with the right people."
Roseman and other talent evaluators say the hardest part of figuring out how a prospect is going to fare isn't so much evaluating whether he can play, it's figuring out how much he wants to play - and practice, and soldier through injuries, and work hard without griping when his team is down three touchdowns late in the game.
Rest of Article: How the Eagles get to know prospects