Tom Donahoe-Gate: Howie Roseman Gives Honest Explanation of War Room Disagreement

Howie Roseman went on the 94 WIP morning show today with Angelo Cataldo for a post-draft radio hit.

He said some stuff we can get to later today, but most interesting was his transparency about the Tom Donahoe situation from this past weekend.

In case you’re living under a rock and unaware, there was video of the Eagles’ war room that went to broadcast after the third-round selection of defensive lineman Milton Williams. In the clip, Roseman and Donahoe, who is a “Senior Football Advisor,” were seen having a bit of a disagreement over the pick:

Roseman answered a question about the incident on Friday night, saying this:

“When we were at pick 70 there were a couple guys we liked on the board, and moved back a little bit to see how it would go. Couple guys we liked went as well. You know, these guys spend all year scouting these guys and you get favorites, you get guys that you feel really strongly about. We all do. You know, that’s the fun part about being in the draft room is the emotions of it. At the end of the day, Milton Williams is an exciting player for our football team. We’re excited to have him. You know, I don’t want to take away from his day, but we’re all excited about that pick.”

Perfectly reasonable answer. Find me any NFL staff that is 100% in agreement on every single pick, and you have a mythical beast. A unicorn, a satyr, a leprechaun, or something equally rare and/or totally nonexistent. Collaboration doesn’t always mean that everybody winds up being on the same page. Just ask any musician that participates in the song writing process.

We assumed that Donahoe was interested in one of the guys who went went 71 and 72 overall, either UCF corner Aaron Robinson or NC State defensive tackle Alim McNeill. Robinson went to the Giants and McNeill to Detroit, and Roseman confirmed today that Donahoe liked McNeill:

“Let me tell you the story about what happened there, because I think you guys deserve it, and I’ll give you some insight there. We’re at pick 70, we have two guys standing out on our board, two defensive guys. Two defensive linemen, and they’re different. Different flavors. One is a three technique and one is more of a nose tackle. Obviously everyone likes different flavors. Carolina calls and they’re picking two picks behind us, and (GM) Scott Fitterer says ‘Howie, you want to drop down two picks for our top of the 6th round pick?’ I said, ‘you gotta tell me offense or defense’ and he told me they were taking an offensive player. So we know we’re gonna get one of these two (defensive players). And when we talk to our coaches about their fit and role they’re excited about these two guys. So one of them goes (McNeill), and then we take Milton Williams. I didn’t even know where the cameras were, to be honest, as you probably know at this point. But when I saw that video of our defensive coordinator, how excited he was, that’s the kind of excitement people have about Milton Williams in our building. Milton Williams is an explosive three technique and unbelievable person. If you give a comp you think of Malik Jackson and what he can do, the versatility to play inside or outside. And then in the 6th round we get the nose tackle (Marlon Tuipulota). We had second day grades on him. I think when we look at it, the way it worked out was really good. And when you talk about the draft and the passion people have for the draft in our building, discussion and debate and having these conversations, it’s okay! You’d rather have that passion. Tom’s been here for a long time. We’ve been together 10 years, extremely close relationship. It’s okay to have tough conversations and Tom and I have had a lot of them in 10 years. That’s why you want people around you who aren’t just going to tell you that everything is okay. They’re going to give you their perspective.”

Great answer. Totally honest and transparent. And Howie gave that info up voluntarily; he wasn’t pressed for it by Cataldi (who is a great interviewer when he turns off the fake outrage/negadelphia shtick).

Another tidbit from Jeff McLane:

That extra 6th turned into Tarron Jackson, so we’ll see how he does. And we’ll see how McNeill does in Detroit.

Then we can pass ultimate judgment on the draft!

But good stuff from Howie. We appreciate the transparency and honesty.