Eagles: Breaking down a possible trade back into the top-10 of the NFL Draft

Towards the end of March, the Eagles traded out of the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to move back to No. 12 overall. In addition to the 12th overall selection, the move landed them another fourth round pick in this year’s draft, plus Miami’s 2022 first round pick. Giving the Eagles three first round picks next year potentially, if all the incentives in the Carson Wentz trade occur.

As it stands today, it doesn’t seem like selecting at No. 12 is a foregone conclusion. Albert Breer brought up the possibility of Howie Roseman making another trade heading into draft night when speaking on MMQB Monday morning.

And while other teams, like New England, have been marked as trade-up teams (with quarterbacks as targets), here’s one I was a little surprised by: The Eagles. Philly’s sitting at No. 12 and did well enough in the trade with Miami that it could potentially make a short move back into the top 10 and still come out loaded with draft assets. What would it be for? I’d never totally rule out a quarterback for Philly, but I think corner is a possibility, with teams right above them having that need. And for what it’s worth, in addition to exploring a move up, the Eagles have also explored a move down.

We know Roseman likes to keep his options open, so this new rumor circulating around the league isn’t all that surprising.

Breer mentions that trading up for a corner may be the reason behind Philly’s desire to get back in the top-10. That makes sense, considering the handful of teams who could target corners with their first round picks. The two that immediately come to mind are Denver at ninth overall and Dallas at tenth overall.

The consensus top-3 corners among most analysts entering this year’s draft are Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, and Caleb Farley. Surtain feels like the No. 1 corner on most people’s boards, so hopping ahead of both Denver and Dallas to ensure they get their hands on him wouldn’t be that far fetched.

Another possibility is trading up to grab one of the top-3 wide receivers: Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, or DeVonta Smith. It’s far more likely that all three of these guys are gone by 12 than each of the top-3 corners. While Surtain is pretty much locked in to be a top-12 pick, it’s unclear how high scouts have Horn and Farley. Farley has been dealing with health issues and may not be ready until training camp, and while I like Horn a ton as a prospect, he’s been mocked all over the first round throughout the offseason. It’s hard to get a true grasp on how NFL teams feel about either of these players.

As far as receivers are concerned, it seems pretty obvious that Chase will be gone by the 6th overall pick, and the Eagles won’t trade back to their original first round pick. So that leaves Waddle and Smith, both of whom are worthy of a trade-up.

What pick exactly could the Eagles move up to in the top-10?

Looking at the draft order, the two most logical positions the Eagles could trade up to are at 7th overall (Lions) or 8th overall (Panthers).

The Athletic’s Ben Standig reported last week that the Lions are actively looking to trade back. Per Standig, “While (Ja’Marr) Chase, (Jaylen) Waddle or (Penei) Sewell would help immediately, Detroit could take advantage of teams aching for a quarterback, wide receiver or Sewell, who could also benefit the Lions.”

Trading up to seven would all but ensure the Eagles selecting the player of their choosing. Whether that be Surtain, Chase, Waddle, or Smith, all four could hypothetically be available at No. 7 overall.

The Panthers, sitting at No. 8 overall, are another logical choice to trade up with. After landing Sam Darnold just a few weeks ago, they’re no longer in the quarterback market. And while they could use a player like the few I’ve mentioned, they’re not one player away from competing. If Sewell or Rashawn Slater falls to them at eight, then I do think they’d stick around to pick one of them — they’re in desperate need of offensive line help. But if both are off the board, it makes more sense for Carolina to move down and gather extra draft capital.

How much would it cost to trade back into the top-10?

This is really the only question that matters when discussing an Eagles move up back into the top-10. If they’re able to pull it off while still keeping the draft capital they gained from their previous draft trade, then by all means go for it. But that’s not the likely outcome here.

If Carolina or Detroit are dangling their top-10 picks out there, you can believe the Eagles won’t be the only team vying for it. There are a handful of quarterback needy teams that would probably be willing to give up more than the Eagles are to land one of those picks. Teams like New England, Las Vegas, or Washington could all trade up for a quarterback.

Of course, this depends on if players like Justin Fields or Trey Lance fall out of the top-5. We could see four quarterbacks go with the first four selections, and with Cincinnati and Miami sitting at fifth and sixth, one of those two gun slingers could be there for the taking at seven or eight.

I could go on all day about the different possibilities that could play out in the top-10 this year. Outside of the top-3, any of the teams between four and ten could trade out of their selection and it would make some sense.

But as far as the Eagles are concerned, giving up an enormous amount of draft capital to move back into the top-10, when you started off in the top-10 at the beginning of the offseason, would just be terrible. And I don’t see a scenario where the Eagles aren’t forced to give up one of the first round picks they gained next year.

So as a fan, I’m just hoping the Eagles remain at 12 and make the right choice. Whether that’s Horn, Smith, Farley, or Waddle.

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