Cam Jurgens, Jason Kelce Like Peas and Carrots (2024)

PHILADELPHIA – Cam Jurgens was being quizzed by Jeff Stoutland during his pre-draft visit to the Eagles’ training facility when Jason Kelce walked in the door.

Suddenly, the conversation shifted from football to cows. Turns out, everyone’s favorite Eagle is learning how to be a cattle rancher and, as Kelce certainly knew, Jurgens grew up on a cattle farm in Beatrice, Nebraska.

“We started talking some ranching and football and how we can help each other learn,” said Jurgens shortly after the Eagles took him the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night. “It was just a great convo. Again, to meet someone like him that's such a superstar. He's down-to-earth and he's a good dude and somewhere that I can fit in really well.”

The two hit it off, like Forrest Gump would say, like peas and carrots.

That conversation, which lasted, by Jurgens’ estimation, about an hour, led Kelce to believe that Jurgens was the best offensive lineman in the draft.

GM Howie Roseman arranged the meeting with the University of Nebraska product, telling Kelce, who is at the NovaCare Complex most days working out, that he thought Jurgens could be a special player in the team’s offense.

“I said to Kelce, ‘You know, Jason, we have this unbelievable opportunity for a guy who is really talented to learn from the best who has ever done it here,’” said Roseman.

"And I said, ‘You know, I don't know if it's the perfect analogy but it's almost like [Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers had the opportunity to learn behind [former Packers QB and Pro Football Hall of Famer] Brett Favre and then the Packers basically had 25 years of elite play at the quarterback position.”

That’s what Roseman is hoping for at the center position.

“For us, having elite play at the center position, it's important,” he said. “We felt like this guy, he was different than the centers who have come out the last couple of years. We think he has a chance to be really, really good. Getting to learn from the best ever, we thought was a way for him to be even better.”

RELATED:Eagles Select Nebraska Center Cam Jurgens at No. 51 Overall

The selection of Jurgens may have raised some eyebrows, but it shouldn’t when given that explanation.

And here’s one more reason why those eyebrows should stay put. He was the highest-rated player the Eagles had on the board, perhaps tied with Nakobe Dean, according to Roseman.

In other words, the Eagles stayed true to their draft board and, as luck would have it, Dean was still there to be picked in the third round.

“If we would have taken a guy in the secondary over a better player like Nakobe or Cam on our board, it would have been a reach, and you guys would have said we were reaching,” said Roseman, “so we just have to do what the boards tells us we can do.”

Cam Jurgens, Jason Kelce Like Peas and Carrots (1)

If it feels a tad unusual for the Eagles to let players in on the evaluation process it sort of is, though there’s no question the Eagles knew Jalen Hurts wanted A.J. Brown after the QB and WR spent some of the offseason working out together.

Roseman went out and got Brown in a stunning first-round trade, a move that doesn’t count toward what looks like a solid draft for the GM and his staff.

“Kelce, obviously we have high respect for him, but we had him there,” said Roseman about utilizing their All-Pro center in the Jurgens evaluation process.

“We are not giving Kelce a guy that we had in the seventh round and bringing him to the second round. It was consistent with our evaluations. I think it's because he's passionate in what he does, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”

Roseman highlighted some former Eagles who now work in personnel, such as Connor Barwin who is now the Eagles’ special assistant to the GM, along with Brent Celek and Darren Sproles who help in player development.

“I think we have a line out the door now of our players on our team who think they are working after (playing) here,” said Roseman. “But we love it because these guys have tremendous passion, and they know what it is to be a Philadelphia Eagle.

"They know what it takes to play in this city. For us, it's no different than having all the evaluations of the coaches and the scouts. It's guys who know what they are doing and what they are looking at.”

And when the Eagles looked at Jurgens, they liked what they saw.

“His athletic ability, the explosiveness, the range and mentality he played with,” said VP of Player Personnel Andy Weidl about the center’s traits. “Then we got to know him and got to know the person and the leadership and the presence he had and the fit, it was a comfort level with all of that.

“But you see it. You see it on tape and get out and lead and run and work on the second level and displace people at the line of scrimmage in run blocking, and just the mentality and the finish and all those things that we like that our offensive linemen do, we saw in Cam.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.

Cam Jurgens, Jason Kelce Like Peas and Carrots (2024)
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