I’ve seen some chatter recently on Twitter about how the notion of the Eagles trading back in the 2017 NFL Draft is a bad idea. The thinking goes like this…
In recent history, the Eagles have fared much better when trading up in Round 1 as compared to trading back. Trading up has yielded players such as Fletcher Cox, Carson Wentz, Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Graham while trading back has brought us Marcus Smith, Trevor Laws and Kevin Kolb.
Those are some very compelling results to conclude that, yes, trading down or out of the first round hasn’t been kind to the Eagles. However, that should NOT have any bearing on whether or not they should trade down in the upcoming draft.
What needs to happen is simply this: The Eagles need to do a better job at picking players if they do trade down. Let’s take a look at the last three drafts when the Eagles traded down…
In 2014 the Eagles had pick 22. Every player supposedly on their big board was gone by the time they picked so they traded down to pick 26. They wanted to trade down again but couldn’t find the right deal so they ended up picking Marcus Smith.
This pick is infamous because it is believed to have been the nail in the coffin between how Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman could co-exist when it came to building the team.
There’s no doubt the pick was a disaster. However, here are a few players the Eagles could have picked at that slot: Deone Bucannon (whom I wanted), Kelvin Benjamin, Bradley Roby or Derek Carr. All four were picked shortly after the Eagles’ pick and all four would have been much more productive than Marcus Smith.
In 2008, the Eagles traded out of the first round altogether. They went from pick 19 all the way down to pick 47 in Round 2 where they took DT Trevor Laws. In looking back, the first three rounds of this draft had a serious lack of overall talent as there were far more busts than hits.
This was likely the reasoning for the Eagles to trade back. With that said, the players the Eagles could have picked instead of Laws at pick 47 were DeSean Jackson (selected two picks later at 49), Calais Campbell, Ray Rice, or Martellus Bennett. If they took DJax at 47, would anyone be complaining about how trading back landed them a bad player?
Furthermore, the Eagles received a 2009 first round pick as part of them trading out of Round 1. That pick was flipped for Jason Peters. Any complaints there?
In 2007, the Eagles traded out of the first round as well…from pick 26 to pick 36 where they took Kevin Kolb. Still on the board at pick 36 were Eric Weddle, David Harris and Ryan Kalil.
So, to say that it’s a bad idea for the Eagles to trade back based on previous results is too simplistic. Hell, in the same draft that the Eagles took Smith, the Cardinals traded back from 20th to 27th, picked up an extra 3rd rounder, then selected Bucannon and John Brown. See the difference there? The Eagles are just doing it wrong.
Trading back is not a bad idea depending on the circumstances. However, when doing this, teams need to make good decisions on the pick they trade down to and with whatever additional picks they receive as compensation.
The move will forever be analyzed because you are choosing to bypass some players and if any of them turn out to be good players, you will be crucified by the fans and media (unless you hit on your picks).
I think there are two reasons that teams trade down in Round 1 of a draft. One is that they perceive the talent level at their current slot isn’t much better than the talent level that would be available at the slot they trade down to. Usually, this means the overall talent in the draft just really isn’t that good.
The other reason is if a draft is seen as being loaded with an abundance of talent, then it would make sense to accumulate an extra pick or two in order to come away with more of these good players. This philosophy would especially be true for teams with multiple holes and are in the process of rebuilding their roster.
The latter is where the Eagles fit at the moment. And, this draft is perceived as having quite a bit of top-shelf talent overall. Check out what respected draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah had to say…
This draft is so deep. I have about 70 guys worthy of a top 50 spot. The 2nd/3rd round is going to produce a lot of future pro bowlers.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 25, 2017
Right now, the Eagles have two picks in the top 50. Wouldn’t it be nice to have three?
I completely understand the rationale of staying put at 14 and taking the best player. The mindset with that thinking is that they’re more likely to find an elite talent at 14 than they are later. And, I’m totally fine with that.
However, I’d also be fine with trading down a little bit. Especially now that my top target at pick 14, Sidney Jones, ruptured his Achilles tendon. However, I do not want to trade out of the first round altogether, just down to the 20-22 range.
Based on the draft pick value chart, that should net us a second-rounder.
The Eagles have enough needs that there will almost certainly be a player of good caliber available in the 20-22 range that could become an instant impact player.
For the sake of argument, let’s say the Eagles traded back to slot 21 after Detroit offered up their second-rounder to move up. Would the player the Eagles could pick at 14 greatly outweigh the player they could get at 21 in this draft?
Obviously, that can’t be answered until draft day or perhaps years later. But, players such as John Ross, Marlon Humphrey, Gareon Conley, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Teez Tabor, Quincy Wilson, Tre’Davious White or even a DE such as Taco Charlton, Tak McKinley or Carl Lawson could still be on the board.
As a matter of fact, it’s highly likely that at least one of those players would still be there at 21.
With the amount of holes the Eagles still have, it would make sense to add an extra pick or two in this draft…a draft that Jeremiah feels will have Pro Bowlers in the second and third rounds.
Some folks think we should trade up if anything. I don’t particularly like that idea because we have multiple holes to fill and I don’t want to give up other early picks (like a 2nd or 3rd) in order to move up. If anything, I’d just stay put.
However, if they can get a second round pick by trading back 6 – 8 slots, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that.
Howie Roseman just needs to do a better job picking the players, not necessarily avoid trading down.