Procus Posted April 21, 2020 Share Posted April 21, 2020 https://www.inquirer.com/eagles/carson-wentz-eagles-draft-receivers-rep1-agency-20200418.html Quote How much influence will Carson Wentz have in the Eagles’ draft? Based on past drafts, plenty. by Jeff McLane, Updated: April 18, 2020 YONG KIM Of the top seven offensive players the Eagles have selected in the last four NFL drafts, six have been represented by the same agency. Carson Wentz was the first, likely setting off a chain reaction, in part, because of his affiliation with Rep1 Football. It may be a mere coincidence, but the quarterback’s predraft relationship with several of the players speaks to his influence with Eagles’ decision makers. Related stories Eagles brain trust of Howie Roseman, Andy Weidl say remote NFL draft war rooms are fully armed and ready The Eagles won’t spend all their draft picks on wide receivers, so what else do they need? What if Carson Wentz was locked down in 2016? Agent says pre-draft work ‘made all the difference’ for Eagles. | Marcus Hayes After the quarterback went No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft, guard Isaac Seumalo was the Eagles’ next pick in the third round. In 2017, the Eagles expended their first three selections on defensive players, but when they went offense with their first pick in the fourth round, they chose wide receiver Mack Hollins. In 2018, tight end Dallas Goedert was tabbed in the second round. And last year, tackle Andre Dillard (first round) and receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (second round) became the latest Rep1 clients to join the Eagles. Only running back Miles Sanders (second round, 2019), among the seven, is represented by another agent. Rep1 is among the more successful agencies in the NFL, but to put the above 6-to-7 ratio into perspective, there are 1,430 eligible players for this year’s draft, as of Feb. 20, and the group represents 12 of the prospects, or 0.8%. Most of those players, of course, won’t be selected next week, or even signed as undrafted free agents after the draft. But the odds of one team expending 88% of its early-round offensive capital on players represented by the same agency – even if about two-thirds of Rep1’s clients play on that side of the ball – are extraordinary. Early Birds Newsletter Eagles news in your inbox year-round Howie Roseman has previously noted Wentz’s involvement in personnel, but the general manager has also emphasized that his opinions were just a small part of the process. The Eagles, after all, have countless executives, scouts, and coaches and millions of dollars invested in the evaluation of draft prospects and free agents. But Wentz’s voice has carried significant weight with some in the front office, according to organizational sources, both current and past ones with the Eagles. “For us, we want to communicate with all our players. Obviously, Carson is a huge part of it,” Roseman said Thursday during a teleconference when asked about Wentz’s input in next week’s draft. He added: “In the past, he has had the opportunity to work out with some guys, but obviously with social distancing and everything going on, it’s not the same way. “Any time we can get valuable information from any of our players about guys they know, guys they’re a part of, it’s important for us to listen to that because a lot of it, it’s dating before you marry.” TIM TAI / Staff Photographer The number of players represented by Rep1 Football on the Eagles' roster has shot up since Carson Wentz came to town. The Eagles clearly want to acquire offensive skill position players that will have chemistry and grow with Wentz. They are expected to use one of their early-round picks, maybe even two, on the wide receiver position when the three-day draft begins Thursday. But should a prospect’s particular skill set or temperament and how it relates to Wentz even matter when choosing, for instance, a first-round talent? According to NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, any one of the top four receivers in this year’s class – CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, and Justin Jefferson – would thrive with the quarterback. But Jeremiah, who had previously worked with Roseman and the Eagles as a scout, said that it would make obvious sense to listen to Wentz. “Yeah, I do think he has influence,” Jeremiah said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s this particular player vs. that particular player. But I’d be shocked if they have not had conversations with Carson and sat down and said, ‘Hey, what do we need? Do we need more speed? Do you need guys to be more reliable? Do you need more size? Do you want somebody that can play inside, can play outside? What would make you comfortable?’ “And let him kind of build the menu for the type of the player you want to bring.” Roseman said the Eagles did have conversations with Wentz at the end of the season about their “vision” for the future, and while he treaded softly about offseason communications – because of CBA rules restricting team-player interaction – they are permitted to discuss draft prospects. During the 2017 offseason, for instance, Wentz worked out with Hollins and other Rep1 receivers in Southern California. The Eagles didn’t select either Cooper Kupp (regrettably) or Chad Hansen (fortunately), but Wentz did give his assessment of each and Hollins (No. 118 overall) was chosen after the former (No. 69) and before the latter (No. 141). Wentz didn’t have the opportunity to throw to Goedert a year later because he spent the offseason rehabbing his knee in Philadelphia, but they did meet during Goedert’s pre-draft visit to the NovaCare Complex. After the Eagles traded up for the South Dakota State tight end, Roseman said that Wentz had been talking up his former Missouri Valley conference rival – he went to North Dakota State – in the weeks before the draft. “He’s been around the building, kind of talking to us about him a little bit,” Roseman said then. “He’s excited.” YONG KIM / Staff Photographer Receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside never caught a pass from Carson Wentz before arriving to Philadelphia, but was able to gain a familiarity with the Eagles quarterback beforehand by working with his backup at North Dakota State. Arcega-Whiteside didn’t work out with Wentz before last year’s draft – the quarterback again spent the offseason rehabbing in Philly, this time for a back injury – but he did catch passes from the next best thing: his college backup. Easton Stick and Arcega-Whiteside were part of Rep1′s 2019 class to train at their facility in Irvine, Calif., but they also spent a lot of time together watching film of Wentz, Arcega-Whiteside said last year after he was chosen. When the Eagles took the Stanford receiver, Wentz was among the first to text him congratulations. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, a Stanford product, had actually met Arcega-Whiteside before the draft and was also solicited for intel. As Roseman noted, the personnel department regularly seeks the advice of players on their roster if they’re known to have previous relationships with possible acquisitions. The front office’s interest in Wentz’s view, however, goes beyond first-hand knowledge of a player. In Seumalo, the Eagles had a prospect who had spent significant time with the quarterback before the draft, and who they believed would someday become his center. Ryan Tollner, one of the several agents who run Rep1, didn’t respond to a request to comment for this story. The agency has flourished over the last decade, with such notable clients as Ben Roethlisberger, Jared Goff, Joe Staley, Brandin Cooks, and James Connor. The Eagles had very few Rep1 players before Wentz. Backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld switched to them over a year ago. A player’s agency typically has little to do with where he may play, but some teams – because of relationships GMs may have with certain agents – tend to have more clients from one particular agent. Having good players helps. It’s not as if the other offensive players the Eagles have drafted over the last four years, aside from Sanders, have panned out. While Wendell Smallwood (fifth round, 2016), Donnel Pumphrey (fourth round, 2017), Shelton Gibson (fifth round, 2017), Matt Pryor (sixth round, 2018), Jordan Mailata (seventh round, 2018) and Clayton Thorson (fifth round, 2019) were all third-day selections, there doesn’t appear to be a gem out of the bunch. Charlie Neibergall / AP As their franchise quarterback, general manager Howie Roseman has said that the Eagles' front office does take Carson Wentz's voice into account, but that his input is only a small part of their overall decision-making process. The Eagles made a significant investment in trading up for Wentz four years ago, but it grew exponentially when the they signed him to a four-year, $128 million extension last June. To say he’s now among the most powerful figures in the franchise wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Wentz has strong feelings about various particulars related to the Eagles, but he hasn’t forced his player preferences on the personnel department, sources said. Roseman, coach Doug Pederson and owner Jeffery Lurie have asked for his input and he has obliged. There have been many decisions that may affect him where he’s had little involvement. The Eagles traded away one of his best friends – receiver Jordan Matthews – before the 2017 season. But they did bring him back on two separate occasions over the last two seasons. While Goedert and Sanders are two promising young skill players, the Eagles likely need to hit on a receiver in this year’s draft, especially if Arcega-Whiteside doesn’t develop. They have the 21st pick in the first round, but the top four receivers will likely be gone by then. A trade up is possible. “For me, if you had the pick of the litter it would be CeeDee Lamb,” Jeremiah said. “If you can get him, I think he’s the best. I think he can do everything. He can give you the big play ability down the field, but he can also do a lot of the dirty work on third down and in the red zone. And I think he would give Carson a lot of free yards after the catch. So that would be my choice. “But when I look at the top four guys between CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Justin Jefferson, I think Carson Wentz would make a star out of any of those four players.” Many in the NFL are calling this year’s receiver crop one of the best in recent memory, and a lot of that has to do with the depth, particularly in the second-fourth round wheelhouse. There are receivers of all different sizes and skill sets. The Eagles clearly need speed on the outside. There is a perception that Wentz has an easier time hooking up with ball catchers who can create space (see: DeSean Jackson) vs. ones who are more the possession type (see: Alshon Jeffery). But that may be a narrow way of looking at a discipline that involves many variables. The ultimate objective is to acquire an elite receiver. In most cases, it doesn’t matter who’s throwing the ball. But just for the record, Rep1 doesn’t represent any of the top prospects at the position, with only Texas’ Collin Johnson projected to be selected sometime during the third day. Posted: April 18, 2020 - 5:00 AM Jeff McLane | @Jeff_McLane | email@example.com Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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