While the national perspective that the Eagles will take a wide receiver with their first-round pick has been jammed down our throats since DeSean Jackson‘s release, locally it appears to become more likely by the hour that the Eagles will select a wideout with their first pick. But, in a stacked receiving class like this, just how far do the Eagles really need to move up to get a receiver with number one talent?
While USC’s Marqise Lee and Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin are among a few names that more than likely will still be available at the 22ndslot, we’ve heard more trade rumbles with the Eagles than any team over the past three or four days, that lead you to think that they might be interested in moving up for someone that they view as a bonafide franchise-changing receiver.
Monday morning, we learned that the Eagles were talking to two teams slated to pick in the middle of the first-round, in hopes that they could lay the groundwork for a draft-day trade that would allow them to select LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr.. Tuesday evening, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio took things a step further, saying that the Eagles had interest in moving into the top ten of Thursday’s draft, for a player that he didn’t believe was Johnny Manziel.
“How much are they willing to give up to go up there, and who is a possible dance partner? They would have to basically break the bank, there is no question you would have to give up next year’s No. 1 to do it. No. 22 this year, No. 1 next year, and maybe a third-round pick this year and next year…They are burning up the phones trying to get a top wide receiver.”
I believe that price tag (two firsts and a third) would only get the Eagles into the top ten. I think they have too low of a pick to reasonably think about moving into the top-five, unless they find a trade partner that is in love with Nick Foles, and the Eagles are willing to move him. That scenario has a zero percent chance of happening for a litany of reasons.
Anyways, the idea that they could only move into the top ten, likely negates the idea of the Eagles drafting Watkins, who seems likely to go in the ladder half of the top five. Even if he were to slide a bit, my guess is that someone would trade into the sixth spot, where the Falcons are scheduled to pick, and select Watkins. There’s no way he makes it past the Buccaneers at the seventh pick. So Watkins seems like an extreme longshot to land in Philly.
As for Evans, it’s still very possible that Watkins goes to the Browns at the fourth slot, and the Buccaneers (who pick seventh) or a team that trades up selects him in one of the top seven picks. If he falls to the Vikings at eight, depending on who is still on the board, the Vikings may be willing to trade out of the spot to allow a team to grab Evans. While it seems more likely one of the two New York (New Jersey, actually) teams trade up to select Evans, or the Lions move up from the 10th spot, you’d think that Howie Roseman would at least be making phone calls to see if the Eagles couldn’t get up to the eighth spot to select Evans. But, for the Eagles to land the eighth pick, they would have to move a ton of future picks, and obviously their 22nd pick, which still probably still won’t be enough to land the pick.
For speculative purposes, let’s say that the Vikings call the Eagles and are willing to accept an offer of the Eagles’ first-round pick this year, next year, and the Eagles third-round pick this year, for the Eagles to move up and select Evans. I know that in a receiving class like this, with other holes on the defense to still fill, that I’m passing on future-mortgaging offer.
Contrary to the way my mind works, other people are allowed to think differently than me. So, I decided to poll some of our other writers on whether they would move up if it meant passing on other needs. As it turns out, my opinion was pretty accurate.
Somers Price-Section 215 Co-Editor
I would not trade into the top ten for one of these two wide receivers. As strong as both Watkins and Evans are as prospects, the draft is too rich at the position to give up those types of resources for the best ones. I have a feeling there will be multiple impact receivers from this draft, including ones that could be taken towards the end of the 1st round or even the 2nd.
If the Eagles really like Anthony Barr and see him as a crucial missing piece on their defense, one could probably make a better case for trading up for him. Pass-rushing is at a premium in this draft and the Eagles desperately need a franchise player at that position. Whether Barr is that player or not, Philadelphia eventually needs to acquire someone to hold down this position and it is important enough where one could make an argument for trading into the top ten. Having said all of that, I would not be surprised if Barr falls out of the top ten.
Steven Lafreniere-Section 215 Staff Writer
I think trading into the top ten to take a receiver entails giving up too much to get a star prospect.
There’s been numerous top 10 picks that have turned into busts in the past ten or so years (Darrius Heyward-Bey comes to mind) and giving up next year’s round one pick, and a third or fourth in 2014, is just too much to pin on one prospect.
It’s basically giving up three chances (which might not be as high, but two are still a first-round selections) to grab one better option. That’s too much to give up if you ask me.
In a draft rich in receiver prospects, I think the Eagles are fine at pick number 22. If anything, they should wait until round two to draft a receiver and get help on the defensive side of the ball first.
Aaron Mazer-Section 215 Staff Writer
In my opinion, I feel like the Eagles need to address the defensive side of the ball first.
With such a deep receiver draft this year, there is a good chance the Eagles will be able to snag a great receiver in a later round. He might not be a Sammy Watkins or a Mike Evans, but they can definitely find a receiver who will make an impact later on.
As evidence by the Seahawks Superbowl run and recent extensions, defenses win championships. The Eagles had an elite offense this past season and it is clear that the offensive side of the ball is not where they need the most improvement. I’d say take a defensive back with the 22nd pick, someone who can step in right away and bring the fire back to the defense.
Other Draft Roundtables
- Do the Eagles need to draft a wide receiver in the first two rounds?
- What should the Eagles do if Johnny Manziel falls to them at the 22nd pick?
- In a perfect world, who do the Eagles select at 22?