To trade up or trade back... That is a question many Eagles fans have wondered about over the last month or so leading up to the NFL draft. On the one hand, the Eagles only have six draft picks. If they stayed put and just made their six picks, it would be the smallest draft haul in terms of quantity since the disastrous 2003 draft, which netted Jerome McDougle, LJ Smith, Billy McMullen, Jamaal Green, Jeremy Bridges, and Norman LeJeune.
On the other hand, if the right player began to fall, Howie Roseman noted that the Eagles would not be afraid to make a power move to go get their guy.
"We would not be concerned with (trading up despite only having 6 picks)," said Roseman, "if we felt like the value of the player was right. If we have a guy who is top 5 in our draft and he's falling, would we look into that? No question. We have to get the right guys, and that's the most important thing."
"I think if we found a guy that we thought could be a long-term, high level starter and he was the highest guy on our board, whatever round that was, I still think we'd be aggressive about that, even though there would be a little knot in my stomach."
Over the last 10 years, the Eagles have stayed put in the first round 4 times, traded up 4 times, and traded back twice. While it is debatable whether that is predictive of what the Eagles will do in this draft, Roseman does have a history of swinging trades both during the draft, and in more peaceful times.
The Eagles stayed put in 2013 (Lane Johnson), 2011 (Danny Watkins), 2006 (Brodrick Bunkley), and 2005 (Mike Patterson). Here are the deals they swung when they either traded up or trade back:
2004: Eagles trade up from 28 to 16 with the 49ers to select Shawn Andrews
To move up to 16 from 28, the Eagles had to part with their 2nd round pick, which was 58th overall. For a few seasons, Andrews was debatably the best OG in the game. However, various injuries, bouts with depression, and "getting his Michael Phelps on" derailed his career.
The Eagles were dead on in their evaluation of Andrews, at least in terms of his ability on the football field, although Andrews eventually wound up being a disappointment.
2009: Eagles trade up from 21 to 19 with the Browns to select Jeremy Maclin
By moving up two spots in the first round, all the Eagles had to give up was their 6th round pick, which was very good value. Whether the actual selection of Maclin was a good one in the first round is debatable.
Maclin had good (not great) numbers his first four years in the league, but he has not developed into anything close to a top tier WR. 2014 will be a pivotal year for Maclin in Chip Kelly's production-friendly offense, as Maclin tries to come back from a torn ACL.
2010: Eagles trade up from 24 to 13 with the Broncos to select Brandon Graham
When the Eagles traded up to 13 during this draft, many thought the Eagles were targeting safety Earl Thomas of Texas. Instead, the Eagles nabbed Graham, and the cost to move up was two 3rd round picks (70th overall and 87th overall). Obviously, Thomas has gone on to have the far better career, and 8 of the 14 players selected after Graham went on to make at least one Pro Bowl. Graham has dealt with an ACL tear, a position coach who favored Jason Babin, and most recently a poor scheme fit. This move up clearly did not pan out for the Eagles.
2012: Eagles trade up from 15 to 12 with the Seahawks to select Fletcher Cox
To move up three spots, the Eagles gave up a 4th round pick (114th overall) and a 6th round pick (172nd overall). Cox has only been in the league for two years, so the picture isn't quite complete with him yet, but at a minimum, he appears to be a quality NFL starter, with the occasional flashes of star potential. This appears like it will prove to be a wise move up.
2007: Eagles trade back from 26 to 36 with the Cowboys, eventually select Kevin Kolb, Stewart Bradley and CJ Gaddis
By moving back 10 spots, the Eagles netted a 3rd round pick (87th overall) and a 5th round pick (159th overall). If you look at the names above that the Eagles eventually landed after trading back with the Cowboys (of all teams), they're not exactly a who's who of awesomeness. Kolb was drafted to be the successor to Donovan McNabb, and that didn't take, although they were at least able to unload him on the Cardinals for a high 2nd round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has been good at times for other teams, but was bad in Philly. Bradley looked like an emerging young middle linebacker before tearing his ACL during "Flight Night," which was a practice open to the public at Lincoln Financial Field. Gattis never made the team.
One argument that could be made is that the Eagles wouldn't have wound up with Brent Celek if they hadn't made this trade. Celek was drafted three spots after Gaddis in the 5th round, so unless Gaddis was picked by one of the three teams before the slot where Celek was picked, the Eagles would have taken Gaddis instead of Celek with their only 5th round pick.
Still, this trade back did not pan out, and set the tone for a pretty crappy draft overall.
2008: Eagles trade back from 19 to 43 with the Panthers, eventually end up with four players, including Jason Peters
This one is a little more complicated. The Eagles traded their first-round selection (19th overall) to the Panthers for Carolina's 2nd and 4th round selections in 2008, or 43rd overall and 109th overall (which became Mike McGlynn), as well as Carolina's 1st round pick in 2009. The Panthers selected OT Jeff Otah with the 19th overall pick.
With the 43rd overall pick, the Eagles moved back again to the Vikings' spot at 47th overall, which became Trevor Laws. In that deal, they collected the Vikings' 4th round pick, 117th overall (Quintin Demps) and gave the Vikings their 5th rounder (152).
The following season, the Eagles traded the 1st round pick from Carolina along with a 4 in 2009 and a 6 in 2010 to the Bills for Jason Peters. In summary, here's the tale of the tape:
McGlynn is still in the league, serving as a below average starter, Laws fizzled out, and Demps has carved out a role as a kick returner an backup safety, although none of them contributed much as Eagles. However, I'll take an elite LT for that compensation any day of the week, please.
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