There have been multiple rumors about the Philadelphia Eagles trading up in the 2012 NFL draft, but what about the idea of trading down? After all, the Eagles’ track record in trading up hasn’t exactly been stellar over the years.
Even though trade-ups for players like Jerome McDougle and Antone Davis didn’t work out, I still think the Eagles should be aggressive in this draft and move up the boards. They just need to be sure to target the right players and go get them.
However, it’s still fun to think about other scenarios that could play out in the NFL draft.
One of these other scenarios could have the Eagles trading down, as they’ve done twice during the Andy Reid era (2007, 2008). If they don’t trade up, the Eagles could very well end up trading down.
Their pick at slot No. 15 is kind of a no-mans land as far as what value could be there for the Eagles. At that pick, DT Fletcher Cox and LB Luke Kuechly will likely be gone. Who else would be there that is worthy of that pick and makes sense for the Eagles?
Mark Barron? Don’t see it. Michael Floyd? He’ll likely be gone too. Michael Brockers? No thanks.
With the selection of players they would likely have to choose from, they could get just as good of a player towards the end of the first round or even in the early second round. Cox and Kuechly are the two best players for the Eagles that are within striking distance in a trade-up scenario.
There are no other clear-cut players worthy of pick No. 15 that would suit a need for the Eagles. This is why a trade down may be in order if things fall that way.
The teams who might be willing to trade up to the Eagles’ slot will depend on what players are actually available. There will surely still be good prospects on the board that other teams may covet.
With that said, let’s go over a few scenarios where the Eagles trade down and see how it could turn out…
Scenario 1: Eagles trade with New England and move down to slot No. 27
The Patriots have two first-round picks along with two second-round picks. With how bad they were on defense in 2011 (but still made the Super Bowl), they could be serious trade-up candidate in order to secure themselves a good defender.
Players like Courtney Upshaw, Stephen Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick and even Quinton Coples could still be on the board and all would be good fits for the Patriots.
In this scenario, the Eagles would likely receive the Pats’ first second-rounder, which is pick No. 48. Therefore, now they would hold three second-round picks to go along with No. 27 overall.
So, how could things work out from here?
At pick No. 27, I’d see the Eagles taking Marshall DE Vinny Curry. According to Joe Everett of RookieDraft.com, Curry is “extremely high on the big board for the Eagles.”
Way back in February, before the NFL combine, I did a mock draft that had the Eagles taking Curry in the first round. He was viewed as a high second-round pick then that I thought would make the jump into the first round based on a strong combine.
Though he only had an average combine performance, he improved upon his measurables at his pro day, where Eagles DL coach Jim Washburn personally worked him out. Now, he is slowly creeping into late-first consideration.
Between Washburn seeing him up close and personal, the Eagles interviewing him at the Senior Bowl — and their penchant for drafting Senior Bowl participants — not to mention he’s a defensive end, Curry certainly has the Eagles’ interest.
Curry posted 23 sacks, 40 tackles for a loss and nine forced fumbles and would be great value at No. 27. He would also give the Eagles insurance in case Brandon Graham doesn’t pan out.
With their three second-rounders (pick Nos 46, 48 and 51), they could do something like this:
LB Lavonte David (SAM prospect)
DT Kendall Reyes (Combined with Curry, would give them a nice young tandem on the DL)
CB Josh Robinson (Could immediately compete for nickel job, returns kicks and punts)
Or, more like what the Eagles would actually do:
DT Kendall Reyes (he’s their consolation DT since no Fletcher Cox)
QB Kirk Cousins (because they will likely draft a QB)
C/G Ben Jones (their annual “pick him a round too early” guy)
One thing is for sure, with three picks between 46 and 51, they would have several options to choose from.
Scenario 2: The Eagles trade with the Rams and move down to pick No. 33
Like the Patriots, the Rams are stocked with draft picks, though most are in the future thanks to the Redskins. In this scenario, the Eagles would receive the Rams’ 2013 first round pick.
The Rams have an extra second-round pick from the Redskins this year, along with extra first-rounders in the next two drafts. The Eagles opt to take a 2013 first rounder instead of pick No. 39 this year.
After taking WR Justin Blackmon at No. 6, new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher might want to make a bold move in order to make the Rams competitive in 2012. A move like this would make sense since Fisher would be playing with house money at this point.
Now, the Eagles would have three second-rounders (pick Nos 33, 46 and 51) just like scenario one, but without the benefit of a first round pick. Therefore, what would they do in this case?
They could simply do the same things as stated for the second round in scenario one — or, they could do one of these combinations:
DT Jerel Worthy (Visited Philly, rated higher than Reyes)
DE Andre Branch (Explosive edge rusher, good fit for scheme)
CB Brandon Boykin (KR/PR, future slot corner)
CB Janoris Jenkins (First round talent falls to second round, visited Philly)
DE Nick Perry (Another explosive edge rusher for wide-nine scheme)
DT Kendall Reyes (Doesn’t it seem like he keeps coming up?)
At pick No. 33, there is still a chance that Vinny Curry could still be on the board, and if so, I don’t think there’s any way the Eagles would pass on him here either. However, I fully expect him to go somewhere towards the end of round one.
The key benefit in this scenario is the Eagles getting a 2013 first round pick. They could use that to possibly trade up in next year’s draft to get their true quarterback of the future rather than wasting a second-round pick this year on a QB who would have a 9% chance of success.
Another team I could see wanting to trade up is the Denver Broncos. They should be in full-force “go for it now” mode with Peyton Manning on board. If the Eagles traded down to the Broncos’ slot, it would be pretty much the same as scenario one above (Broncos have pick No. 25).
Again, the main reason for trading down is to get value. The Eagles’ two biggest targets in round one should be Cox and Kuechly. If they can’t get either of them, they can trade down and get better value.
The chances of the Eagles staying at pick No. 15 are probably 50/50 at best. And if that happens, Peter King of Sports Illustrated gave us some food for thought with his latest mock draft. He has the Eagles taking DE Quinton Coples with that pick.
Coples is an intriguing prospect and could be this year’s version of Jason Pierre-Paul, whom we had a chance to take in 2010 but chose Brandon Graham instead. King, you might remember, was probably the only person who predicted the Eagles would take Danny Watkins last year.
I don’t think that will happen, but hey, strange things happen on draft day when it comes to the Eagles.