Howie Roseman has been the Eagles’ general manager for nine drafts and his history shows he’s never afraid of movement in the draft, especially early.
In those nine drafts, he’s stayed put three times, he’s traded down twice and he’s moved up four times, including 2016 when the Eagles moved up from 13 to 8 to 2 before the draft to get Carson Wentz:
2010: Traded up from 24 to 10 for Brandon Graham
2011: Stayed at 23 to draft Danny Watkins
2012: Traded up from 15 to 12 for Fletcher Cox
2013: Stayed at 4 to draft Lane Johnson
2014: Traded back from 22 to 26 to draft Marcus Smith
2016: Traded up before draft from 13 to 8 to 2 to draft Carson Wentz
2017: Stayed at 14 to draft Derek Barnett
2018: Traded out of first to draft Dallas Goedert
2019: Traded up from 25 to 22 to draft Andre Dillard
So the Eagles have the 21st selection on April 23, but there’s certainly no guarantee they end up picking at 21. In fact, based on history, it’s more likely they don’t.
So here are the three scenarios:
We all know the Eagles come into this draft with a huge need at receiver. But there’s a very real possibility the top three — possibly four — receivers will be off the board before they’re on the clock at 21. If the Eagles want one of those top receivers, if they think that’s their best bet to solve their problem at the position, they’ll probably have to move up. In order to get one of the top three, they’ll probably have to get into the 10-15 range. If they want to get the fourth, presumably Justin Jefferson, they might need to get into the 15-20 range.
Remember, the Eagles already traded two picks in this draft class to get Darius Slay. They went from 10 to 8 and gave up a third-rounder in that deal. So if they trade up, they might have to — or prefer to — use a future pick.
Outside of receiver, there aren’t a whole lot of other positions that make sense to trade up for in this draft, especially after the Eagles already moved two picks in the Darius Slay trade. The only other player I think the Eagles should be interested in for a trade up would be cornerback C.J. Henderson if he falls; I think he’s a stud CB who isn’t getting enough attention. And maybe edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, but I’m not completely sold on the idea of moving up for him.
Trade up targets: WR Jerry Jeudy, WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Henry Ruggs III, WR Justin Jefferson, CB C.J. Henderson
What if the Eagles don’t trade up, they end up on the clock at 21 and the top four receivers are gone? And what if the best players on the board are all too similar in their evaluations? Well, then a trade down makes sense. Now, there’s no guarantee there will be another team willing to move up to the 21st pick, so even if the Eagles want to trade out, they might not be able to.
But if, for example, the Eagles want a guy like Brandon Aiyuk but think they can move down five spots and still get him, they could pick up an additional mid-round draft pick (or move up their pick in the third round) and still get their guy. This option might even make sense if the Eagles trade all the way out of the first round.
Trade down targets: WR Brandon Aiyuk, DE Yetur Gross-Matos, CB Jeff Gladney, WR Jalen Reagor, WR Tee Higgins, WR Laviska Shenault
If things fall the right way, a guy like Jefferson will still be there at 21. To me, that would be the best case scenario. The Eagles stay put and get a good player at the most obvious position of need and for good value without giving up additional picks. But if Jefferson is gone, there might be some other options. Mims is the other receiver in the group that would be a solid value at that pick.
If it’s not a receiver, their options might be limited. There’s a chance the second- and third-best linebackers are available and the top safeties, but the Eagles don’t generally use first-round picks on those positions. There’s always a chance Roseman takes a pass rusher so if Chaisson is there, he could be the guy and maybe A.J. Epenesa or perhaps Gross-Matos if they think trading down is too risky.
Targets at 21: Justin Jefferson, K’Lavon Chaisson, Kenneth Murray, Denzel Mims, Xavier McKinney, Grant Delpit, Patrick Queen, A.J. Epenesa
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