After a significant swap of draft capital, the Eagles have gone from three first-round picks down to two in exchange for a haul of future selections and an extra third rounder this year.
How might Monday’s deal impact general manager Howie Roseman’s approach to the NFL draft on April 28? Going from No. 15, 16, and 19 to the 15th and 18th picks shouldn’t change the targeted players too much, but it might cause the team to prioritize premium positions higher in the early going with two swings instead of three.
There’s also the added flexibility of using the acquired picks to move around in the draft; the Eagles now have two third-round picks, three fifth rounders, and 10 total picks in this year’s draft.
Here’s an updated guess at who the Eagles’ will add in the first three rounds of the draft:
Round 1, Pick 12 (trade): Jordan Davis, defensive tackle, Georgia
Davis plays a position the Eagles covet, and there’s a very clear path for him becoming an impact player relatively quick. In this scenario, the Eagles send the 15th and 83rd pick to the Minnesota Vikings to secure Davis, who has been projected to go to Minnesota at 12, the Texans at 13, and the Ravens at 14 by various mock drafts.
What makes Davis worth moving up? At 6-foot-6, 341 pounds, he ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine and put together a pretty encouraging spider chart according to mockdraftable.com. Much has been made about the 40 time, but his 99th percentile 123-inch broad jump is arguably the more eye-popping number.
That explosiveness shows up when you watch Davis. He gets off the ball freakishly quick for a man his size and he’s got the strength to pair with those movement skills. He has to make strides as a pass rusher, but he’ll be a plus in the run game right away and will be a mismatch on size and movement skills alone from the jump. He’ll give the Eagles a chance to run a pretty talented 3-4 front with Davis as the nose tackle flanked by Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox.
The Eagles have expressed interest in Davis, and the fit makes sense. He reportedly took a predraft visit with the team and Roseman has long prioritized finding impact players along the lines of scrimmage.
Having the extra third rounder from the Saints trade will give the Eagles flexibility early in the draft, and they use that flexibility to poach one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class.
Round 1, Pick 18: Chris Olave, wide receiver, Ohio State
Another first-round wide receiver?
Count me among those who entered this offseason skeptical that the Eagles would take a wideout in the first round for a third consecutive year, but the way the last few months have unfolded has changed my thinking.
The Eagles made multiple efforts to address the receiver position leading into the draft — and still could by trading for a veteran — but they’ve struck out so far. According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the Eagles were closing in on a trade for Calvin Ridley before the Atlanta Falcons star was suspended for gambling on games. They also pursued free-agent receiver Christian Kirk, but lost out to the cash-flush Jacksonville Jaguars.
Olave compares favorably to those two. Watching him at Ohio State, his route-running ability and speed stand out. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and was in the 72nd percentile in the broad jump. He won’t be much of a contested catch threat, but he’s got the ability to separate.
Round 2, Pick 51: Jalen Pitre, safety, Baylor
You may have noticed the Eagles are pretty thin on the back end.
Whether it’s a corner or a safety, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles going too far into this draft without addressing the secondary, and Pitre would be excellent value any time on Day 2.
While he spent most of his time at Baylor around the line of scrimmage, he has the athleticism and physicality to play on all three levels. He’d be a capable deep safety while also giving the Eagles the flexibility to move him around. He can also match up in man coverage with tight ends or slot receivers, further adding to his versatility.
Round 3, Pick 83: Traded
Round 3, Pick 101: Josh Paschal, edge rusher, Kentucky
The Eagles’ edge rusher need has been calmed a bit with the addition of Haason Reddick and Derek Barnett’s return, but they’ll still need to address it at some point.
Paschal is a strong, explosive edge rusher who won’t go early because he doesn’t have impressive height or arm length at 6-2, 268 pounds. There’s still a lot to work with, though. He’s played at multiple spots on the defensive line as a three-year starter for Kentucky, lining up anywhere from three-technique to the edge. He had five sacks last season and 13 total.
He’s shown plenty of power to mix with encouraging quickness off the ball, he’ll just need some time to improve his rushing technique.