The NFL draft is just under two weeks away, and as draft night draws closer, the question still looms, what will the Eagles do with their first-round pick?
In the past two drafts, the Eagles made draft-night trades, both with the Baltimore Ravens. In 2018, the Eagles held the 32nd overall pick and traded it away for two second-round selections and a fourth-round selection.
In 2019, the Eagles swapped first-round picks moving up from the 25th pick to the 22nd pick, as well as giving up a fourth and a sixth-round selection to draft Andre Dillard.
In his tenure as general manager, Howie Roseman has shown he is not afraid to make deals. The 2020 draft class is full of prospects that are worth noting, with positions such as cornerback and wide receiver at the top of the Eagles list of needs.
Whatever the Eagles decide to do with their first-round pick will show what the team is looking for in terms of prospects in the draft.
Of the three options, this one has the clearest intentions. If the Eagles were to trade up in the draft, the team would look to get up into the top fifteen to select one of the top three wide receiver prospects.
The names of Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III all are pieces that would instantly bolster the Eagles offense.
The drawback to this is the cost that it would take to get a deal done.
Teams that are ahead of the Eagles include the Raiders, Dolphins, Broncos, and 49ers, all of which have a need for a wide receiver in their offense. To get ahead of these teams would require moving up eight to ten spots.
Teams that sit in the top fifteen that are in no need of a wide receiver such as the Buccaneers are perfect candidates to negotiate a trade but would ask for high compensation in return. With the Eagles already down one third-round pick after trading for Darius Slay, it is hard to see them looking to part ways with at least one second-round pick and multiple mid-round picks.
In regards to popularity among the fan base, a decision to move back in the draft may not sit well with the fans. However, it would give the Eagles more room in terms of drafting capability.
This draft is huge in terms of the future of the franchise. The Eagles need to find young, cheap talent that they can pair alongside high priced players such as Fletcher Cox and Carson Wentz.
As seen in the previous two drafts with the Eagles, the team that moved back got at least two mid-round picks in return. Moving back would give the Eagles the opportunity to get their hands on an extra second or third-round pick and a mid to late-round pick on the last day of the draft.
In terms of selections after moving back, the Eagles still have options. The wide receiver class’ depth would enable the team to draft a player such as Denzel Mims or Jalen Reagor and not have to worry about reaching for one of these players at the 21st slot.
The Eagles could also look to go in another direction by moving back and target a cornerback, linebacker or defensive end. Names such as Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray and Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos are interesting names to keep an eye on if the Eagles do decide to trade back in the draft.
Staying Put at No. 21
The thought of staying put and using the 21st pick is the standard practice out of the three options. By staying put, the Eagles would not give up any significant draft capital from moving up, nor would they risk missing out on talent by moving back.
The name Justin Jefferson is one that keeps coming up in terms of the Eagles drafting at 21. He not only fits the need in terms of the wide receiver position for the Eagles but also aligns with where the Eagles currently sit on the draft board.
Jefferson’s former teammate at LSU, linebacker Patrick Queen, has also found his way into the thoughts of many, including draft analyst Todd McShay as a possible option. Queen, similar to Jefferson, does fill a glaring need for the team at 21 and would play almost immediately.
The aggressive nature of Howie Roseman makes it hard to see the Eagles stay put, but if they do, Jefferson and Queen are among two safe options for the Eagles.
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