The Eagles moved back six spots in the first round of next month’s NFL draft and added a first-round pick in 2022 on Friday when they traded the No. 6 selection to the Miami Dolphins for the 12th pick.
The Dolphins had traded back from the third spot to the 12th in a deal with the San Francisco 49ers earlier Friday, a deal that netted Miami an extra first-rounder in each of the next two drafts as well as a third-rounder next year.
Shortly after the trade with the Niners was reported, the Dolphins agreed to send the Eagles the 12th and 123rd picks in this year’s draft along with their first-rounder next year for the Eagles’ sixth and 156th picks.
With the deal, there’s a good possibility that the Eagles will have three first-rounders in next year’s draft, depending on whether the conditional pick they get from the Indianapolis Colts in the Carson Wentz trade conveys as a first- or second-rounder. The pick will be a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps next season, or 70% if Indy makes the playoffs. If Wentz doesn’t play the required percentage of snaps, the pick will be a second-rounder.
The Eagles’ move back all but ensures that second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts will be their starter next season. The team had early interest in BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, but it’s unlikely he’ll make it out of the top five of the draft.
While the Eagles were effectively removed from the race for the top quarterback prospects once the 49ers traded up, they still put themselves out of the likely range for even the highest-ranked pass-catching prospects, such as LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. Still, the organizational messaging this offseason is that the team is entering a rebuilding phase, and accumulating picks will give the Eagles more chances at accelerating things after next season.
Assuming the Eagles don’t trade away their new stash of picks, they’ll have multiple first-rounders in a draft for the first time since 1993, when they selected guard Lester Holmes and defensive tackle Leonard Renfro. It’s a far cry from a team that made only 10 total picks in 2018 and ’19.
“I think we gained from the short-term decision-making,” team owner Jeffrey Lurie said in January, “but there was no stage where we weren’t aware that a lot of those decisions and resource allocations and the lack of volume of draft picks wasn’t eventually going to create a real trough, a real transition period, and I think that’s what we’re in.
“We’re in a real transition period, and it’s not unlike 2016. We have to retrench and rededicate and allocate resources to what can make us the best possible team in the mid-term, in the long term and hopefully compete in the short term because I think we can, but honestly, that’s really where we’re at.”
How good will this Miami pick be next year? That might swing on how quarterback Tua Tagovailoa plays in his second year. The Dolphins went 10-6 last year, but owned the No. 3 pick by virtue of a trade they made last offseason that send tackle Laremy Tunsil to Houston. Tagovailoa split time with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick last season but struggled at times with injuries and poor play.
The Dolphins’ defense has been solid under head coach Brian Flores, and they had the sixth-best passing defense in the league last year, according to Football Outsiders. Fitzpatrick signed with Washington last week, so Eagles fans should be rooting for Tagovailoa to struggle as the outright starter to offset what figures to be another quality defense.