The Jets hired Douglas as the team’s new general manager on Friday. Douglas, a seasoned personnel executive, grew his impressive résumé during his three-year stint as the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel.
Douglas influenced several roster moves that led to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl title following the 2017 season. While overseeing the player personnel department, Douglas and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman made shrewd decisions as they built a perennial playoff-contending depth chart.
Here are the 12 best moves from Douglas’ tenure with the Eagles:
(Editor’s Note: Roseman ultimately pulled the trigger on all of these moves but Douglas oversaw the player personnel department. The pair worked in collaboration. These 12 moves were seemingly made with heavy influence from Douglas or his scouting department.
This list doesn’t include bringing back former players like Nick Foles, DeSean Jackson, Vinny Curry, etc. because those players had been with the franchise prior to Douglas’ arrival.)
12. Trading up for and drafting Andre Dillard
The Eagles watched Dillard — a Top 10 player on their 2019 NFL Draft board — drop to the No. 22 pick. The front office then made the decision to trade fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Baltimore Ravens to draft Dillard, who will serve as the heir apparent to former All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters. This was a strong collaborative move by Roseman (trade negotiations) and Douglas (scouting). The last major move of Douglas’ tenure is ranked at the bottom of our list because Dillard hasn’t hit the field yet.
11. Drafting Derek Barnett in the first round
While Barnett missed the majority of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, his early returns have been pretty strong. He produced five sacks as a rookie rotational pass rusher and made a pair of memorable plays during the team’s Super Bowl run. Barnett became a starter last season and was productive in six games before undergoing the procedure. He is set to return to the lineup as a starting defensive end this season.
10. Claiming Cre’Von LeBlanc off waivers
This move was the strongest in-season transaction of last year’s campaign. The Detroit Lions waived LeBlanc in October during the Eagles’ bye week. The Eagles pounced on the former Chicago Bears cornerback with a waiver claim. Douglas’ familiarity with LeBlanc from their time together in Chicago helped the Eagles feel good about his arrival. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said during the playoffs that LeBlanc’s arrival was one of the keys to their postseason berth. To make this move even better, LeBlanc’s contract was claimed with an extra season in place. He will be a key contributor this season.
9. Trading for Jay Ajayi
The Eagles needed more power within their running back rotation during the 2017 season. Roseman traded a fourth-round pick to acquire Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins prior to the league’s deal deadline in October. Douglas and his staff helped identify Ajayi as a fit for the rotation. The former Pro Bowl player provided a spark for the Eagles during the second half of the season and made some big plays during the playoff push to the Super Bowl. While Ajayi’s second season in Philadelphia ended in forgettable fashion, he provided some highlights during the first month of the campaign to help the Eagles start off on the right foot.
8. Trading for Michael Bennett
The Eagles traded a fifth-round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson to the Seattle Seahawks for Bennett and a seventh-round pick in March of last year. While Bennett got off to a slow start during his lone season in Philadelphia, he ended up being one of the team’s second-half MVPs last year. While his contract demands led to a trade to New England this offseason, Bennett’s impact on last year’s playoff run was massive. Roseman and Douglas felt Bennett could fit into the Eagles’ locker room ecosystem. While he came in with a polarizing personality, his leadership in the locker room was appreciated by several younger players. This move is low on the list because of Bennett’s short run and anticlimactic exit.
7. Signing Chris Long
Long joined the Eagles as a veteran afterthought during the 2017 offseason. He proceeded to become a key part of the pass-rushing rotation and a sharp leader in the locker room. Long made several impact plays during his two-year stint with the Eagles. He won a second consecutive Super Bowl in his first year with the Eagles and became a face of the underdog playoff movement in Philadelphia. Along with his on-field contributions, Long was an all-star in the community and one of the most well-liked Eagles of his era. He retired last month after an 11-year NFL career. While it’s unclear who actually decided to bringing Long in, Douglas’ player personnel department saw a fit.
6. Signing Corey Clement as an undrafted free agent
Clement may have been the biggest rookie contributor of the 2017 season. While he went undrafted, his importance to the Eagles’ roster can’t be overstated. Clement was the team’s top third-down back throughout the majority of the Super Bowl run and he produced a team-high 100 receiving yards and a touchdown during the big game. He may have been the runner-up for the Super Bowl MVP award. While he had a letdown season last year, he is expected to bounce back from the campaign-ending knee injury that he suffered in December. Douglas oversaw the department that identified Clement as a diamond in the rough.
5. Signing LeGarrette Blount
Blount has become the poster child for the Eagles’ shrewd summer moves. Signed in May 2017, Blount became a key contributor on the field and a leader in the locker room. Blount didn’t put up huge numbers during the regular season but he produced a touchdown in each of the Eagles’ three playoff games that led to a Super Bowl title.
4. Trading for Timmy Jernigan
While offseason back surgery limited his output last season, Jernigan was a force during his first year in Philadelphia. The Eagles acquired Jernigan in a trade with the Ravens in 2017. The Eagles swapped third-round picks — exchanging the 74th overall pick for the 99th overall pick — to bring in Jernigan. The Florida State alum was cut this offseason and then re-signed to be a third defensive tackle in the Eagles’ upgraded rotation. Douglas had a connection to Jernigan through their time together in Baltimore.
3. Signing Patrick Robinson
Robinson was the surprise veteran addition of the 2017 season. He had a career year as the team’s starting nickel corner, despite a rough start to his first offseason in Philadelphia. Robinson’s game-changing pick-six against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC title game will go down as one of the greatest plays in Eagles history. Robinson lasted just one season in Philadelphia but his presence was felt in a major way. Douglas’ department scouted Robinson and identified him as a good fit.
2. Signing Alshon Jeffery
This signing had Douglas written all over it. Jeffery and Douglas connected through their time in Chicago. Douglas knew Jeffery’s talent, personality and locker room demeanor and felt that the veteran wide receiver was a good fit for Philadelphia. Jeffery was a huge asset during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run, despite suffering through a major shoulder injury at the time. While Jeffery missed the first three games of last season, he proved to be a key contributor throughout the Eagles’ second consecutive playoff run.
1. Turning the 2018 32nd overall pick into Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox and Miles Sanders
The Eagles and Ravens have been consistent trade partners since Douglas arrived in Philadelphia in 2016. During the 2018 NFL Draft, the Eagles traded their 32nd overall and 132nd overall picks to acquire the Ravens’ 52nd overall and 125th overall picks and a 2019 second-round selection (Sanders).
While the Eagles did a little bit more maneuvering after that initial deal, the team ended up with Goedert, Maddox and Sanders when it was all said and done. All three players are expected to be important cornerstones of the franchise for years to come. The ability to find two major immediate contributors after trading out of the first round was a huge deal last season. Sanders was the highest running back selection by the Eagles since 2009. He is expected to eventually be the focal point of the team’s running game.