The Eagles traded their first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, adhering to their predraft pledge that they were “open for business.”
The Eagles acquired a second-round pick (No. 52 overall), a fourth-round pick (No. 125 overall), and a 2019 second-round pick. They surrendered the No. 32 pick and a fourth-round pick (No. 132 pick).
So to move down 20 spots, the Eagles added a 2019 draft pick and moved up seven spots in the fourth round. They still have six total draft picks this year. They now have one pick on Day 2 of the draft.
“We felt like the value was right for us, where we are as a football team, where the value was in this draft, there are a bunch of a players that we still like that we’re optimistic and excited to get tomorrow,” said Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations. “Where this draft is strong, it continues to be strong until tomorrow. So it gets us an opportunity to still get a good player possibly, but more importantly, continue to build. For us, we want to win this year, but we want to continue to win. We want to win 2018, we want to win 2019, 2020. There’s not many times you get an opportunity to move back in a draft and pick up a [future] second-round pick. For us, it was the right value.”
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was on the board at No. 32, offering the Eagles an intriguing trade-back opportunity. That’s exactly what happened. Jackson was the fifth quarterback taken in the first round and the Ravens get the coveted fifth-year option on his contract, which is not available after the first round.
Entering the draft, the Eagles made a list of players that would entice teams to trade if they fell to No. 32. Jackson was on that list. The Eagles didn’t know how it would materialize, though, and Roseman said he didn’t go into the draft planning to trade down. Roseman admitted there were “a bunch of phone calls” about the Eagles’ pick. There were other offers, but the Eagles coveted the 2019 draft pick in the trade.
This is the first time the Eagles didn’t pick in the first round since 2008, when they traded out of the No. 19 pick to acquire a second-round pick, fourth-round pick, and future first-round pick.
The key for the Eagles was that they felt there was a drop off at certain positions after the top 15-20 picks, and that the strength of the draft at No. 52 will be similar to what was available at No. 32.
“The strengths that we felt like were there before were the reasons we made this trade back,” Roseman said. “Because we felt like what we were going to get at 32 was going to be a strength [on Friday] as well. So let’s go add a second-round pick for next year and still have an opportunity to maybe add to our team.”
The Eagles could still add a running back in the second round. LSU’s Derrius Guice and Southern California’s Ronald Jones are among the top rushers available. Three running backs went in the first round on Thursday: Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, and Georgia’s Sony Michel. The Eagles return Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement as their top two running backs, but they must replace LeGarrette Blount and also think beyond 2018 at the position. Ajayi is a free agent and the Eagles could let him walk.
Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams is still on the board. He’s the best tackle available, although there’s a thought he might need to play guard in the NFL. Interior linemen such as Texas-El Paso’s Will Hernandez and Iowa’s James Daniels remain available, too. The Eagles return Jason Peters and Lane Johnson at tackle, although Peters will be 36 this season. Brandon Brooks returns at right guard with Stefen Wisniewski at left guard and Jason Kelce at center.
If the Eagles wanted to address safety, they could target Stanford’s Justin Reid or Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison. They still need a third safety to replace Corey Graham and there could be need at the position beyond 2018, when Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod get older and more expensive. Reid could also help the Eagles as a slot cornerback, a role he filled at times in college. The Eagles lost Patrick Robinson and they need to replace him. The remaining cornerbacks include Iowa’s Josh Jackson and Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver.
At pass rusher, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry remains on the board. Michigan’s Maurice Hurst is the top defensive tackle. The defensive line is always an organizational priority for the Eagles.
They could look for a tight end because only South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst went in the first round. South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki are the best options left. SMU’s Courtland Sutton and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk are intriguing wide receivers on the board.
They’ll need to wait 20 picks on Friday, but they’re no longer sitting that night out.
“We’re in the game [Friday],” Roseman said, “We’re strongly in the game Saturday. And we’re rolling in 2019, too. We have options at our disposal. We won’t hesitate if we think the value is right to move up or move back again [Friday].”