Howie got it right.
After all the sleepless nights, all the worrying and fretting, all the fears that they’d screw this up again, Howie got it right.
And this rebuild is off to a great start.
In DeVonta Smith, the Eagles have the elite wide receiver they’ve been lacking for a decade, a young explosive playmaker who gives this receiving corps instant credibility and gives Jalen Hurts not only a close friend and former teammates but a legit threat every time he drops back to pass.
All your worst fears evaporated with one announcement from commissioner Roger Goodell.
That they would draft Kwity Paye or Christian Barmore. That they would draft Greg Rousseau or Caleb Farley. Someone who might one day be a nice player but not someone you can just be thrilled about for once. Someone that would make you turn the TV off, throw the remote onto the floor and go to bed pissed.
Smith wasn’t just the fun pick, he was the right pick. And I didn’t like the trade down from No. 6 to No. 12 when the Eagles made it because I thought six was just a safer place for Roseman to be, and I didn’t trust the value from No. 12 plus next year’s first-round pick to equal the type of elite player they could get at six.
Now I love the trade. Because by moving back up to No. 10 and giving up only one of two third-round picks to do it, the Eagles got elite value AND they still have that 2022 first-round pick waiting a year away.
It was getting a little hairy when Jaylen Waddle and Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn started disappearing.
But Howie played it perfectly, moved up when he had to move up and got the player this team desperately needed.
Ask yourself whether you’d rather have DeVonta Smith and a first-round pick or Jaylen Waddle.
The Eagles haven’t drafted a wide receiver you could get amped about since DeSean Jackson in 2008 and Jeremy Maclin in 2009, and DeSean was 13 years ago and Maclin 12 years ago.
The team that gave you JJ Arcega-Whiteside instead of D.K. Metcalf and Jalen Reagor instead of Justin Jefferson made sure it didn’t happen again.
Smith may be light, but he’s also 6-1 and he can fly and he catches everything. He caught 235 passes for 3,965 yards and 46 touchdowns at Alabama, including 117-for-1,856 with 23 TDs last year.
He’s exactly what this team needs to start the rebuild.
This was already a decent offseason. The Eagles got more value than I expected for Carson Wentz, they hired a passionate young head coach who brought in a solid staff, they got the cap under control while shedding lots of dead weight and they signed a couple inexpensive but promising free agents.
And Smith is the centerpiece of the offseason so far, the first Heisman Trophy winner they’ve drafted in 56 years.
And the Eagles pick again at No. 37 and No. 70 on Saturday and then they have those (likely) three first-round picks looming next year.
Last year was a nightmare but this is fixable.
Think about the worst Eagles teams you remember.
The 1994 team lost its last seven games and Rich Kotite got fired. The next year they went 10-6 and won a playoff game.
The 1998 team went 3-13 and Ray Rhodes got fired. Two years later they were 11-6 and won a playoff game.,
The 2012 team went 4-12 and Andy Reid got fired. A year later they went 10-6 and won the NFC East.
You can turn things around quickly in the NFL. But you have to make smart decisions. And the Eagles finally made one Thursday night.
There’s a lot more work to do before the Eagles are a contender, but they’re a lot closer now than they were this morning.