Shortly after the 2020 season ended, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman spoke publicly about how important it was that the Eagles hit on the No. 6 overall pick.
Less than three months later, he traded it away.
During Wednesday’s virtual pre-draft press conference, as he sat next to personnel head Andy Weidl and head coach Nick Sirianni, Roseman explained why he traded down from 6 to 12 last month.
“Well, the reason we traded back from 6 to 12 was because flexibility creates opportunity,” Roseman said.
“And for us, having an extra first-round pick, when you go back and look at things that are hard to acquire, that’s one of the hardest things to acquire, is a team’s first-round pick in the following year and to move back six spots. But what we really had to do was to sit there and go, ‘Who are the 12 players in this draft that we would feel really good about?’ Are there 12 players in this draft that we feel really good about?”
As a reminder, here were the terms of the trade the Eagles executed back on March 26:
Dolphins get: No. 6, No. 156
Eagles get: No. 12, No. 123, 2022 first-round pick
With the additional first-round pick from the Dolphins in 2022, the Eagles will likely have three picks in the first round next year as long as Carson Wentz plays 75% of the Colts’ snaps or 70% and the Colts make the playoffs. While Roseman didn’t get too deep into the potential ramifications at the quarterback position, the possibilities can’t be ignored, especially with how much value the Eagles put into that position. If Jalen Hurts doesn’t have a good enough season to prove he’s the long-term starter, the Eagles will have the draft means to either trade up to take a top QB in the draft next year or trade for an established starter.
That had to play into it, right?
But that’s probably getting ahead of ourselves.
For next week’s draft, Roseman said the Eagles had to feel comfortable with the level of talent that would be left at No. 12. That takes some detective work. Part of the evaluation was the fact that the 49ers were the team trading up into the top three. That let the Eagles know quarterbacks will come off the board 1-2-3.
“It allowed us to lock in even more on who the guys who would be available at 12,” Roseman said.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the Eagles are going to stay put at No. 12 either. Roseman sees the entire draft in terms of value. It’s not just about picking good football players, it’s about maximizing value while doing so. Sure, he has a shaky draft record in recent years, but that mindset — at least in theory — is a good one to have. Why take a player higher than you have to when you can still get him and add another pick on top of it?
The Eagles, Roseman said, have conversations about possible compensation before the draft begins. So they’ll talk to teams in front of them about possibly trading up and teams behind them about possibly trading down. With the compensation part out of the way, they just have to see how the draft board begins to fall on April 29.
From there, it’s about value. Right or wrong, Roseman is never shy about pulling the trigger on a trade.
And that’s the mindset that governs any potential trade the Eagles might make on draft night or throughout the seven rounds.
“I think that’s what we’re going to do throughout this draft,” Roseman said. “If you move back, it’s because you feel like you have a bunch of guys that are the same value and you’d be really happy getting one and getting the extra volume from that pick. If you move up, it’s because your board kind of drops off at that point. And if you select, it’s because you feel like it’s the last player in that sort of range. When we discussed this, those were really the things we discussed about moving back. When you’re moving back early, you have to feel like you’re getting a premium. We felt like we were getting a premium to do that.”
Even if the Eagles don’t trade out of the No. 12 spot, it would be pretty surprising if they don’t make at least a couple trades throughout the three-day draft. There’s a lot of lying that goes on in the week before the draft, but you can believe that Roseman is always looking into trades.
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