It's unlikely that Howie Roseman peeked one last time at the Eagles' depth chart before selecting Sidney Jones in the second round of the NFL draft.
If he had, he might not have chosen the Washington cornerback who suffered an Achilles tendon rupture in March and might not play this coming season. It must be daunting to know that he might have to go into next season with Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson as his starting cornerbacks.
But Roseman has a luxury he didn't have during his first five years as general manager and before he was exiled from the personnel department for a year. He can take the long view, as much as NFL teams can nowadays, because he has a young quarterback in Carson Wentz and seemingly a clean slate after owner Jeffrey Lurie returned him to power last year.
Will that be within the best interest of the Eagles? Only time with tell. But time is something Roseman has.
"The draft is about the long-term interest of your football team, and if you go into it saying, 'Hey, we have this open spot on our depth chart. We got to fill it right now,' we're going to miss opportunities to get the best player," Roseman said Friday. "For us, whatever the timetable is for Sidney, when he gets back and he's 100 percent, he makes a difference."
The Eagles may have made some short-term moves in free agency by signing wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, defensive end Chris Long, and Robinson, but those contracts, for the most part, are just one year in length.
With the draft, at least the first two selections, the Eagles took prospects who won't necessarily contribute right away. Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett went in the first round Thursday, and while he isn't returning from injury like Jones, he's playing a position at which rookies hardly make a significant impact - even those chosen with the 14th overall pick.
But both players are only 20 years old. And if the Eagles are serious about their chances this season - taking into full account that Wentz could take a significant leap, that the free-agent additions will improve the offense, and that anything is possible in the NFL year to year - they understand that building for a sustainable future is the right course.
Lurie, Roseman, and Joe Douglas, the Eagles' vice president of player personnel, can certainly take this view. But what about coach Doug Pederson, whose leash is likely shorter, or some of the veterans on the team, who only have so many years left?
"We just got us a first-round talent at corner," Pederson said, sounding like the Eagles' version of the Manchurian candidate. "He's somebody, as Howie alluded to, we're not going to rush into with anything with him, and we're going to make sure that he's 100 percent before we put him out on that football field."
The Eagles aren't finished with the draft, of course. They're likely to select another cornerback, maybe two, with a class that is said to be historically deep at the position. But the later the draft goes, the less likely the rookies will be able step in and contribute on Day 1.
Mills got a ton of exposure last season in his first year. He had some highlights, but there were more lowlights. Robinson, a former first-round pick, has been unable to stay healthy, and when he has played, he's been nothing more than adequate. Aside from Ron Brooks, the rest of the group is young and inexperienced.
But the Eagles have to start from scratch at some point. For almost a decade they've added one Band-Aid free-agent cornerback after another, mostly without any success. Jones, who was taken 43rd overall, was the highest the team has taken a corner since drafting Lito Sheppard 26th overall 15 years ago.
"We haven't put as many resources into the cornerback position," Roseman said. "We haven't taken a lot of high picks. . . . When you look at that position it's hard to find guys. The receivers in this league are extremely talented. You got to be willing to put the resources in."
Jones is a gamble. But Roseman said the Eagles' medical staff spent a lot of time reviewing the 6-foot, 186-pound corner's medical records and talking to his doctors. While Robert Anderson, who performed Jones' Achilles surgery, told teams on April 21 that he would return to "full activity" in four to six months, the Eagles aren't putting a timetable on Jones' return.
"Obviously, [Jones] got a report from Dr. Anderson that we saw that showed how well it's healing and was an optimistic report," Roseman said. "But we're going to take it slow."
Not many cornerbacks in the NFL have come back from the injury and been as effective, but Brent Grimes was one, and he was nine years older than Jones at the time. But it's an injury that is difficult for corners to return to full strength from because they often backpedal and have to turn and go.
"Our doctor and training staff not only looked at corners and players in the National Football League, but we reached out to teams in other sports . . . guys who are playing explosive positions, quick-twitch positions, who have had these sort of injuries and their recovery timetable," Roseman said.
The Eagles had Jones listed among their top 14 prospects before the injury occurred at Washington's pro day, per Roseman. Douglas said that his length, feet, and hips stood out on film. But the Achilles will now be the body part the Eagles will have to monitor most.
They have time.
"We can grow with this kid," Roseman said.