What a night. The first round of the NFL Draft has come and gone and we finally have some answers to the questions we’ve been asking for the last few months. There was an NFL record 9 trades made during last night’s draft and oh yea….. A.J. Brown is a Philadelphia Eagle. The trade for the Pro Bowl WR came out of nowhere when the Eagles decided to trade the 18th overall pick and 101 for A.J. Brown.

The move came only minutes after the Eagles traded up to No. 13 overall to select Georgia’s standout defensive lineman Jordan Davis. Davis is a 6’6 341 pound lineman who ran a 4.78 40 yard dash. Davis is an absolute stud, and it’ll be very interesting to see how Jon Gannon and Nick Sirianni integrate him into the defense.

But the big story of the night was the acquisition of A.J. Brown. The trade was a few days in the making according to Howie Roseman, and he said after the move that they had been focused on getting this deal done throughout the draft process. It makes perfect sense with how the offseason has gone, and how the first round leading up to the 18th pick played out. Much had been said about the Eagles possibly selecting a third straight first round receiver, but by the time the Eagles were set to be on the clock at 18, the options had slimmed down significantly.

First, Drake London went to the Falcons at 8, and then the receiver run happened from 10-12 where the Jets got Garrett Wilson, The Saints traded up to grab his running mate Chris Olave, and then the Lions traded up to 12 to select who could end up being the best receiver in the draft in Jameson Williams. 

At that point, it was clear the Eagles were going to go defense with their first pick. After trading up to select Jordan Davis, the only two viable first round options at WR left on the board were Jahan Dotson and Treylon Burks. Well, Howie Roseman and the Eagles decided against the unknown, and exchanged that 18th pick for the known commodity in A.J. Brown. Here’s Howie on the trade and how it came to be: 

“[It was] something we were working on during the course of the draft, and we were just kind of trying to balance finishing that, and if we didn’t finish that, making sure we got the right players. But, it didn’t matter who was on the board. For us. A.J. Brown was somebody that we had studied coming out, spent a lot of time on, and we had a lot of love for A.J. Brown coming out of that draft. Obviously things went a different way in that draft, but really excited to get him — just in terms of how Coach [Sirianni] can use him and his vision for A.J. Brown in this offense.”

The main takeaway from that is: Howie had his sights set on Brown before the night even started, and who was on the board might not even have mattered, he was going to get his guy. I really love this move for a number of different reasons. Brown, only 24 had spent out his welcome in Tennessee, and it was clear the Titans did not want to pay him headed into the final year of his rookie deal. It’s a win-win for both sides in my opinion.

The Titans were able to get off a receiver that they didn’t want to pay, and in return now have Arkansas wideout Treylon Burks who they selected with that 18th pick. The Titans got younger and cheaper, which was their goal, and the Eagles got the established receiver they’ve been looking for since the start of the offseason. Jalen Hurts seems excited about the move as well.

Brown signed a 4-year $100 million contract with the Eagles including $57 million in guaranteed money. It’s definitely in the ballpark for what Brown was looking for from the Titans, and with the cap space the Eagles have, this contract is a no brainer. Yes, Brown has had some injury concerns in recent years, but you make this deal 10 times out of 10. Here’s Howie on the contract logistics and why he feels the Eagles were able to make a move like this:

“I think for them, because of the amount of resources we had and they are trying to accumulate some of those resources as well, I think they thought it made some sense for them at the time. And, you know, obviously with all these players, contract’s a big issue. When you have a young quarterback like we do, you can be a little bit more aggressive with contracts than maybe you can when you’re paying a quarterback.”

It’s clear the Eagles window for getting a guy like this was this offseason. That’s why there were so many rumors about a possible Calvin Ridley deal being in the works before he was suspended, and some other free agents the Eagles missed out on. The Eagles want to see what Jalen Hurts is capable of with the right weapons. This move only further confirms that the Eagles’ primary goal for the 2022 season will be to evaluate Jalen Hurts with no room for excuses or confusion. They will have their answer by the end of the year.

 The NFC East is wide open this year, and with this move, it’s hard to say that the Eagles won’t at least be in contention for that #1 spot again. The Cowboys have had a rough offseason, losing key players on both sides of the ball, and selecting Tulsa offensive lineman Tyler Smith over the likes of Tyler Linderbaum or Jermaine Johnson II, both whom project to be much better NFL players. The Commanders aren’t much of a threat in my eyes, and the Giants… Well, they definitely got off to a good start last night. They grabbed Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 5th pick, and then potentially the best tackle in the draft in Evan Neal at 7. The Giants are for sure winners from last night’s first round, and I would include the Eagles as big winners as well.

With all of the unknown heading into this draft, the Eagles expertly maneuvered around the hurdles and got the best value from their available resources. Howie was able to net an additional first round pick in next year’s draft, move up to get Jordan Davis, and acquire A.J. Brown all without giving up any draft capital in next year’s draft. Simply put, this was Howie Roseman at his absolute best. 

It’s clear the Eagles believe in A.J. Brown and the type of player that he can be in this offense. Moving Devonta Smith to the #2, opens up so much for this offense. Along with their deadly rushing attack, the Eagles now have 2 stud receivers that are only going to get better. The Eagles were aggressive all offseason, specifically last night in the draft, and it paid off. Here’s Roseman on the risk of acquiring A.J. Brown and how he feels about the type of team the Eagles will be moving forward.

“Anything you do there’s risk, but that’s who we are going to be, we are always going to be aggressive and we are always going to take shots on guys that we believe in, and we believe in A.J. Brown.”

Well, I believe in A.J. Brown too, and if last night was any indication of how the rest of this draft/offseason is going to play out, you can’t help but be jumping out of your seat excited for September to see this team in action.

 

Featured Image: (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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