Jeffrey Lurie Says He Did Not Push for Draft Selection of Eagles Enforcer J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jeffrey Lurie spoke with reporters Tuesday evening at the NFL’s annual meetings in Florida. The big takeaway was his announcement that Kelly Green is coming back, which is whatever. People seem to love the Kelly Green, but I’m willing to bet that if the Eagles went 15-2 it wouldn’t matter if they were wearing hot pink with purple trim and some neon yellow as the accent color. We’ll call it the “Jane Fonda” look. On-field play and the ensuing results are always more important than ancillary topics like uniform color and design, but fans seem to dig the latter, so it’s all good.

Lurie had much more to say, much more of substance. One of the topics that came up was his involvement with the draft process, and player personnel decision making, and he pushed back on that, saying that he’s less involved than he used to be. That segued into an assertion that he did not instruct Howie Roseman to draft J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, the quote transcribed here by Jimmy Kempski from Philly Voice: 

“I know some of you thought I was trying to pick J.J. or whatever, no, that was not the case,” Lurie said. “There was a tie between J.J. and Parris [Campbell] in that room and they said to me flippantly, who do you want? And I said hey, these are both red star players, that means A-plus character, you’ve got my blessing whatever way you want to go, and I think they went probably based on injury risk, Parris had some soft-tissue injury risk.

“And like everybody in the NFL up until that point, kudos to Washington, they got the player that has had a great player in the next round, or was it the fourth round, was it, Terry McLaurin. Kudos to them. I’ve probably backed off. Not that I was super-involved ever, but I think I get excited, I’m a football fan, I love the possibilities of players and it’s always to support those that are excited about players in the draft. It’s never my evaluation. I don’t do the work. Come on.”

Lurie says it’s not about his evaluation, but earlier in the quote notes that the front office looked to him as a tiebreaker. He does use the word “flippantly” in there, so it’s open to interpretation, but there’s some level of Lurie being involved in the macro-level process. Maybe he isn’t in the draft room saying “I command you to select Derek Barnett,” but he plays some type of role.

The real question is –

Does any of this matter? Most owners are going to be involved in player-personnel decisions to varying degrees. Some will be hands-on, like Jerry Jones back in the day, and some will be hands-off, but if you’ve ever been around anybody in a position of power, they typically like to think that they have the answers and will step in with ideas even if they have given you radio silence for the previous three months.

All of the draft stuff is hard to nail down anyway, i.e. who is most responsible for which selection. We give Jeff Stoutland more credit for Jordan Mailata than Howie Roseman. And maybe there’s a player the scouts liked but Howie didn’t like, and so you skew the credit giving in another direction.

Either way, good to hear from Lurie. There are so many shit NFL owners and the Eagles have one of the better ones. He should speak more often. Not Jerry Jones in the locker room after every game, but more than once every 14 months.