Eagles

Are Eagles more likely to trade up or down in 2019 draft?

Are Eagles more likely to trade up or down in 2019 draft?

During his joint 42-minute pre-draft media availability this week, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was asked a simple question: 

Are you more interested in trading up or down in the first round? 

His answer was not nearly as simple: 

Who’s on the board? What’s the value? What are we getting?

His point, of course, was that they’ll have to see how the first round is going before figuring out whether or not they’d be willing to trade up to target a player or trade back to acquire more draft picks. At No. 25, it seems like they’re in a good position to do either. And Roseman is never shy about making draft-day trades. 

I still think the Eagles are more likely to trade up to get what Roseman calls a “difference-maker,” but that doesn’t mean a trade down isn’t possible. 

Remember, for Roseman, the draft isn’t about just getting good players; it’s about getting good players for good value. Earlier this week, Roseman outlined three reasons to make a trade in the first round: 

1. Trading up: If there’s a fall-off point in talent in the first round, it makes sense to move up to get a difference-maker. The Eagles are sitting at 25, so if they have 20 players they think are first-round worthy (even though their grading scale doesn’t work by round), there’s a chance they’ll have to move up to get one of those top players. They’ll do their research, but won’t truly know if one of those top-tier players will be available at 25 until the players start getting picked off the board. 

2. Trading down: If the Eagles are on the clock at 25 and they have, say, four players who are graded equally or close to it, they could add value by moving back three or four spots. They would get more or better later-round picks and still get a player they view as an equal to whomever they’d get at 25. 

3. Trading down: If they’re on the clock at 25 and they don’t think any of the players are worthy of that pick, they can hope someone else sees value there. In that case, they can trade back and get into a pocket of that round or the next round where they’d feel more comfortable making a pick. 

Since he became the Eagles’ GM in 2010, Roseman has been in charge of eight drafts (not including the 2015 draft under Chip Kelly). In those eight years, he has made 25 draft-day trades and four of them include first rounders. That’s over 3.0 per year and he’s never not made a trade during the draft. (This doesn’t include the two trades in 2016 to get in position to draft Carson Wentz; those happened before the draft.) 

Of the four Round 1 trades, two were to trade up, two were to trade down. 

• In 2010, the Eagles traded picks Nos. 24, 70 and 87 to move up to No. 13 to draft Brandon Graham. 

• In 2012, the Eagles traded Nos. 15, 114 and 172 to move up to No. 12 to draft Fletcher Cox. 

• In 2014, the Eagles traded No. 22 down to No. 26 to draft Marcus Smith. The Browns wanted Johnny Manziel. The Eagles also got No. 83. 

• In 2018, the Eagles traded out of the first round (No. 32) when the Ravens wanted to draft Lamar Jackson. The Birds ended up trading back up higher in the second to take Dallas Goedert the next day. 

Roseman has talked before about the usual talent cutoff in first rounds. There are only a certain amount of “difference-makers” atop every draft — it differs by team — and on Tuesday, he said most drafts don’t have “32 legitimate first round grades” on players. He, of course, didn’t say whether or not this is one of those years, as to not tip his hand. But the Eagles are already running through all the hypothetical situations. And this is the time where preliminary phone calls between teams about draft-day intentions start happening. Roseman always says trades happen because of relationships around the league. 

So the reason Roseman didn’t answer the question on Tuesday is because he probably really doesn’t know what’s going to happen when the draft kicks off. He certainly has more of an idea than he let on — I still think the Eagles are in prime trade up territory — but there’s no point in tipping his hand. 

The only thing we know for certain: Roseman isn’t one to shy away from draft-day moves, so there’s a good chance we see one again next week. 

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Watch: What would Doug Pederson do if an Eagles player was jumping over bulls?

Watch: What would Doug Pederson do if an Eagles player was jumping over bulls?

The time between the end of mandatory minicamp and the start of training camp can be a time of worry for NFL head coaches. They send their players out into the world for about a month and a half off and just hope they stay out of trouble. 

Most do. 

Some get in trouble. 

Some jump over bulls in Spain. 

At least that’s how Washington cornerback Josh Norman decided to spend his time off, in Pamplona, Spain, where there’s video of him literally hurdling over a bull. 

In the video above, our John Clark caught up with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe to ask him what he would do if it were an Eagles player jumping over the bull. 

If you haven’t seen the video of Norman, check that out, courtesy of our friends at NBC Sports Washington: 

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Eagles 2019 training camp battles: Running back competition could have surprise ending

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Eagles 2019 training camp battles: Running back competition could have surprise ending

As we near the start of the Eagles’ 2019 training camp, we’re taking a closer look at some key position battles to watch this summer. We looked at cornerback yesterday.

Up today: Running back 

Names to know 

Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott, Josh Adams, Donnel Pumphrey 

What to watch 

There are really two separate battles here. The first is for that last roster spot, assuming the Eagles keep four running backs. The second is for playing time and roles once we know who is on the team. 

Let’s start with the battle to actually make the roster. If we assume two things: 1. The Eagles will keep four running backs, and, 2. Clement will be healthy, then we can be pretty sure we know three of the four running backs who will make the team. Howard and Sanders are stone locks and if Clement is healthy, he should be way ahead of the other backs. In recent seasons, the Eagles have kept four RBs, which means there’s one spot left for four players. 

Let’s look at those four players: 

• Wendell Smallwood has been with the Eagles since 2016 and is entering his fourth NFL season — hard to believe. No, he never turned into a feature back, but how many times have you written him off already? He doesn’t go down without a fight. He stayed healthy enough to win a job this time last year and again had a role in 2018. Maybe this is the year the Eagles finally move on, but I wouldn’t rule him out completely. 

• Josh Adams was a rookie last season and didn’t even make the roster out of camp. But he was promoted from the practice squad and went on to lead the team in rushing with 511 yards. That’s the eighth-highest total ever for an Eagles rookie. So it might seem crazy to think he’s the odd man out … but he’s probably the odd man out. He excels at running between the tackles and the Eagles have Howard and Sanders to do that this year. 

• Boston Scott might actually be the front-runner for this job. And the BoScott Hype Train has officially left the station. He has a Sproles-like body, meaning he’s short but also built well. Scott, a sixth-round pick last year, came from the Saints during the season and never really got much of a chance. But he has a much more complementary collection of skills than the other guys up for this job. Most importantly, he has some ability as a punt and kick returner. The Eagles don’t have a ton of players with punt return experience. 

• And, finally, Donnel Pumphrey is still around. His chances aren’t great to make the roster, they’re not even good, but they’re also non-zero. Remember, last year, he was legitimately in the mix for that last spot but couldn’t stay healthy in camp. He would need to have a tremendous summer, but crazier things have happened. 

No matter who wins that fourth job, it’s unlikely they have a major role in the offense if the top three backs stay healthy. That was a problem for Sanders this spring, when he missed all of OTAs with a hamstring injury. We need to see him on the field at training camp. It would also be nice to see Clement back on the field practicing after his knee injury in 2018. During practices this summer, we’ll see how first-team reps are split as the depth chart takes form before our eyes. 

Prediction

While I’m hesitant to rule out Smallwood (I’ve been burned by that before), I think Scott is the favorite to win the job. The key, for me, is his complementary skillset and his ability to be a returner. 

As for how playing time shakes out, I think Howard begins the season as the lead back and Clement begins the season as the primary third-down back, but Sanders eats away their snaps and touches as the season goes on. He’s a talented young back playing catch-up after missing OTAs and I think it’s going to be hard to keep him off the field if he takes the strides I expect him to. 

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