If the Philadelphia Eagles have a chance to trade back in the 2013 NFL Draft, I think most fans would be on board with that idea. With various needs and the lack of a “must-have” player at pick No. 4, trading down to acquire an extra pick or two is an attractive scenario.
The problem is, as we all know, that in order to trade down, we need someone who wants to trade up. And with that lack of a “must-have” player in this draft, not many teams will be looking to trade into the top-5.
With that said, it doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any movement in the top 10, at least.
Four of the past five drafts have featured trades with teams in this area of the draft. In fact, 15 of the last 20 drafts had trades involving teams in the top 10, including nine in the top 5.
So, if we go based on the percentages of the last 20 years, chances are there will be at least one trade involving a team in the top 10 this year. The question for this year’s draft is not who’s willing to trade down, but rather who would want to trade up, and for who?
The best value for teams looking to trade down is when there is a coveted skill position player to be had, particularly at WR and QB. Unfortunately, there aren’t any true “stud” players at those positions this year that other teams would be salivating over and trying to trade up for.
However, the QB position is always over-drafted so it will be interesting to see if anyone makes a move for Geno Smith this year.
Of the 15 drafts in the past 20 years that involved trades with teams in the top 10, there were a total of 25 trades. Of those 25 trades, here is how the positions break down of the players that were traded up for…
- WR – 5
- DT – 5
- QB – 3
- DE – 3
- RB – 2
- OT – 2
- TE – 2
- CB – 2
- LB – 1
Somewhat surprisingly, the DT position was tied for most traded-for position. Then again, teams that have a chance to get a franchise QB are probably less likely to trade on average.
The same could be true for the OT position as well, but the Eagles might have the opportunity to put that to the test this year.
The best chance for the Eagles to have a trade-down opportunity will be if at least one top prospect at OT (Fisher/Joeckel) and DT (Lotulelei/Floyd) as well as Geno Smith are still on the board.
It would help too if the Jaguars or Raiders made some kind of unexpected pick, therefore leaving another top prospect on the board. Though that isn’t out of the question, I’m assuming the first three picks will go something like Joeckel/Fisher to the Chiefs, Dion Jordan or Floyd to the Jags, and the player the Jags didn’t pick to the Raiders.
So, who might be interested in trading up? The first thought is teams that are in need of a quarterback…
Several of the QB-needy teams in the top-10 addressed their QB position via trades or free agency. However, I see two teams that could be in play for Geno Smith: the Browns and Jets.
And luckily, those two teams have a history of being quite active with first-round trades in the past.
The Jets are the key. Rex Ryan has to be fighting for his job this year and if he intends to rely on Mark Sanchez, he must want to get fired. New York is in need of new blood at the QB position and someone to give the franchise hope for the future.
Is Geno Smith that guy? Maybe, maybe not, depending on who you talk to. But, this could be a time for Ryan to to take a chance to grab some excitement at the game’s most important position.
If Smith came in and played well and put the Jets on the up-swing, that would likely be enough to save Ryan’s job.
Then, there is the curious case of Cleveland and their new regime. Joe Banner saw the success a new head coach and QB tandem had in Philly and could be looking to duplicate that in Cleveland.
This is why the Jets could be key. If Banner thinks the Eagles won’t take Smith, he would know that Detroit wouldn’t either and therefore Smith would be there for the taking at No. 6. Therefore, the only reason why the Browns would be inclined to deal with the Eagles would be to fend off another team trading ahead of them for Smith.
You see deals like that all the time in the draft. Hell, last year the Browns traded up one single spot in the draft to guarantee they got Trent Richardson. They did it to ensure another team didn’t trade to the slot ahead of them and snatch him up.
Of course, if Banner really wants Smith, he might have to trade ahead of the Eagles in case they think Kelly wants him.
The most popular thought out there this year is that there could be teams that want to move up for one of the top-tier offensive tackles. Mel Kiper recently stated that he thinks the Eagles could get offers from teams looking for Fisher, Joeckel or Johnson…
“Certainly trading down, you’re going to get offers because it’s not costly to be up there. It’s a case where there’s going to be some hot players, and the hot players are going to be those left tackles. Everybody seems to want to go up and get those guys. “
“After Joeckel goes, if he goes one, that’s going to make Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson two possibilities for teams that are going to look to move up. It depends how it flows through. I think they will get offers.”
Teams in the top half of the draft that should be in the market for a top-tier OT are Arizona, Buffalo, San Diego and Miami. The Dolphins are a popular team to speculate about trading up because they have a plethora of picks with two second-rounders and two third-rounders.
However, apparently there is a rumor down in south Florida that has the Dolphins trading up for Lane Johnson. Check out this little tidbit that surfaced recently via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald:
If the Dolphins do try to trade up, I can almost guarantee it won’t be for Johnson. Yes, he is a legitimate first-round selection. Yes, he plays a position of need. But the Fins like Joekel and Fisher much, much, much more than Johnson and have some concerns about Johnson as a left tackle.
Therefore, if Fisher or Joeckel are on the board at No. 4, maybe Miami comes calling and offers one of their second-round picks (at the minimum). My only problem with thinking about teams trading up for an OT is the fact it hasn’t happened much.
As stated above, there have only been two occasions in the past 20 years where a team has traded up into the top-10 (or within the top 10) for an OT. But, as also stated above, that could be more about teams not wanting to give up such a player more-so than teams’ willingness to trade up for one.
A surprise team that I think could trade up is Tampa Bay, from slot 13. They have needs along the defensive line and at cornerback. They’ve had Dion Jordan and Dee Milliner in for visits.
They could feel they’re a defensive playmaker away from seriously competing. Jordan, Milliner, Lotulelei, Floyd and Ansah could all be viable targets for them.
Furthermore, there have been reports that Greg Schiano is “not sold” on Josh Freeman as his starting QB. If he has enough sway in the future of the franchise, perhaps the Bucs could make the ultimate surprise move of the entire draft by moving up for Geno Smith.
Minnesota and St. Louis both have two first-round picks so they could be game to trade up as well. I don’t see the Eagles as being a trade partner with either of them at No. 4, but you never know.
Another possible scenario for trading down could involve a monster trade with the Indianapolis Colts. In fact, this trade is so outrageous, I had to put it in a separate post to thoroughly explain it.
You can check that out right here: Could Eagles and Colts Make a Huge Draft Day Trade?
In my most ideal trade-down scenario for the Eagles, I would love to be able to get a 2014 first round pick as part of the deal. But for that to happen, it would take a team in the second-half of the draft to want to move up.
The further you want to move up, the more you have to give up.
I’d have no problem dropping into the 20’s if it meant a second-rounder plus a 2014 first. It would set the Eagles up nicely for next year’s draft to be able to secure a better QB, if they don’t take one this year.
The other way would be to trade back twice, which we have seen teams do before.
However, that’s all probably just a pipe-dream.
If we trade back this year, the most likely scenario is trading back with a team in the top-half of the draft and picking up an extra second-rounder (and possibly a mid-late round pick).
In a deep draft such as this, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.