PHILADELPHIA — In a roster move that underscored their biggest need, the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday acquired wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly.
Green-Beckham brings a prototype X receiver frame (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) and world-class speed (4.49 in the 40-yard dash) but also a bit of baggage from his past and present.
Most recently, he had fallen out of favor with the Titans' coaching staff for conditioning and consistency issues after reporting to camp overweight and out of shape, according to reports. This, after averaging 17.2 yards on 32 receptions as a rookie last year.
His college career was tainted by off-field issues that included two arrests for marijuana possession and an incident in which he was accused of pushing a female down a flight of stairs. Though he was not charged in the last incident, he was dismissed from the University of Missouri team as a result and wound up at Oklahoma.
The Titans drafted him in the second round last year.
Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is confident Green-Beckham's off-field issues are behind him for good.
As for the current problems, "we're going in with our eyes open on it," Roseman said, "and it's going to be up to him to kind of prove his value to this football team."
Not coincidentally, Roseman also announced that former safety Brian Dawkins, who had recently been hired as a part-time scout, was made a full-time member of the front office with the title of football operations executive.
One of Dawkins' chores will be to help turn Green-Beckham and others with similar issues into better men and, in turn, better players.
Either way, it was a relatively low-risk trade by the Eagles, who gave up a lineman that didn't figure prominently in their plans. Although Kelly began camp as the second-team right tackle behind Lane Johnson, when the Eagles made an adjustment to prepare for Johnson's pending 10-game drug suspension, Allen Barbre was moved to first-team right tackle and rookie Isaac Seumalo was plugged into the left guard spot to replace Barbre.
Those players will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Thursday night's preseason game, Pederson confirmed Tuesday.
Pederson remembered being impressed by Green-Beckham when the player entered the NFL Draft.
"Big, tall, strong, physical receiver," the coach said. "Can make plays. There's not a ton of current game film on him, so you kind of dive back into his history a little bit of watching games. I really liked him [coming out of college], was intrigued with him — obviously his size, his speed — and looking forward to getting him in here and getting going."
Pederson's plan is for Green-Beckham to travel with the team to Pittsburgh but not play. He is hopeful a change of scenery will change the receiver's mind-set.
"We're not in the rehabilitation business," Pederson said, "but at the same time, we feel like, with the staff that I've assembled on offense, with the personnel staff upstairs, we can bring in guys that might have had a little bit of a history and we can help these players not only become young men, but become good football players."
In doing recent research on Green-Beckham, Roseman found him to be a "good-hearted kid.
"He has the right intentions," Roseman added, "and if you get a chance to really spend some time with him, you'll see that. He's not a locker-room cancer at all. He's got a rare skill set. Now, there's a reason that he's available at this time. He's got to get more consistent, like we're talking about, but for us and where we are in development, we thought it was a risk worth taking.
"Because of where we are from a pick standpoint going forward, we're going to have to take some chances to make sure that we increase the talent level."
Green-Beckham's upside is essentially not measurable. He has tremendous gifts and size. The Eagles are gambling that they can get a fire going in his heart to match.
Quarterback Sam Bradford endorsed the move.
"I'm really looking forward to meeting him and getting to know him."
Bradford also was supportive of the deficient wide receiving corps that likely led the team down this path in the first place.
"I think those guys have handled it really well," Bradford said. "I mean, we were installing [the offense] up until two nights ago. So for having something new thrown at them, I think they've shown that we need to make plays and they've done it. Just like all of us, we're working to be more consistent.
"But overall, I think those guys have done a great job."