Whenever trading back in the first round is mentioned, most Eagles fans tend to roll their eyes at the thought. It was a cornerstone during the Andy Reid era — it felt like an inevitability almost every season.
Most years, I would be right there with those fans, scoffing at the thought of trading down. But I’ve had a change of heart this year, and I believe trading back may actually be the Eagles best bet in this draft.
For starters, our biggest need in this draft is wide receiver, with linebacker coming at a close second. If you were to argue that linebacker is the team’s biggest need, I wouldn’t be able to argue back in all honesty. The only reason I put receiver over linebacker is just because the team values that position much more than linebacker. They won’t spend a high draft pick on an LB, it’s as simple as that.
So with that in mind, we know there will be a handful of solid wideouts available at no. 21. LSU’s Justin Jefferson has gained a lot of traction as the Eagles target in the first round, and I don’t think anyone would be opposed to bringing him to Philly.
He’s a versatile receiver who can really do it all on the football field — but here’s the thing, there are about three or four guys who will probably get drafted after Jefferson who are just as good as him. If the organization falls in love with the guy and he’s there at 21, by all means take him. But if he’s off the board when the Eagles are on the clock, trading back should be the plan.
The Minnesota Vikings at 22 and 25, who are probably going to try and replace Stefon Diggs in the draft, could be a solid candidate to trade with. Even the Miami Dolphins at 26, with their plethora of draft picks, could be a prime candidate to trade with if there’s someone they love still available when the Eagles are on the clock.
Trading back in the first to get maybe a third or fourth rounder this year on top of a third or fourth next year would be a really solid move. The team will still have a handful of wideouts to chose from at 25 or 26.
Baylor’s Denzel Mims, Penn State’s K.J. Hamler, Purdue’s Laviska Shenault and one of my personal favorites, TCU’s Jalen Reagor will all likely be on the board late in the first round.
Not to mention, gaining an extra pick or two in later rounds will allow the team to draft more depth along the offensive line, as well as drafting a linebacker, although they should probably target one with a higher pick (but probably won’t because Jim Schwartz doesn’t care about LBs).
All in all, the Eagles could go in a few different directions in this draft. Trading back to accumulate more picks, while still getting your hands on a solid wideout, just seems like the most logical.
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