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Eagles confirm Alim McNeill was a target before Detroit Lions snagged him

Alim McNeill was very nearly a Philadelphia Eagle, but Philly took a costly risk.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, we took notice that the Philadelphia Eagles’ war room looked distraught after their third-round pick of Milton Williams. This was noteworthy because the Eagles had the 73rd pick in the NFL Draft—the pick right after the Detroit Lions took defensive tackle Alim McNeill. It was theorized, then, that the Lions may have taken the player the Eagles wanted, which would be especially painful for Philadelphia, considering they had pick 70, and traded down to 73, gaining an extra sixth-rounder in the process.

On Tuesday, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman admitted that was exactly what happened.

“We had two guys, two guys standing out on our board. Two defensive linemen,” Roseman said on 94 WIP radio in Philly. “And they’re different. They’re different flavors. One is a three-technique, one is more of a nose tackle. Obviously, when you have different flavors, everyone likes different flavors.”

Roseman got clearance that the Panthers, the team trading up with the Eagles, were taking an offensive player—and they did (Brady Christensen). So unless they went back-to-back before them, Roseman was assured they’d get one of those two guys: The nose tackle (McNeill) or the three-tech (Williams). The Lions, despite already taking a defensive tackle in the second round, ended up taking McNeill, so the Eagles took Williams.

But it was clear not everyone in the Eagles war room was thrilled with this outcome. Here’s how distraught the Eagles war room looked, with Roseman attempting to cheer up the senior director of player personnel Tom Donahue.

Roseman wouldn’t confirm if Donahue wanted McNeill (“you’d have to ask him”), but Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirmed via other sources this was the case.

In the end, the Eagles got their nose tackle—in the sixth round (Marlon Tuipulotu)— so I guess everyone is happy now.