Howie Roseman has once again lit the Eagles Twitter-sphere ablaze with his latest move. The Eagles traded down with the Miami Dolphins last week, and will now be picking 12th overall in the upcoming NFL Draft. Miami is sending back a 2022 first round pick and a 2021 fourth round selection. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is sending number 6 overall and and a 2021 fifth round selection. The trade occurred mere minutes after the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the number three overall pick, presumably for their future franchise quarterback.
It hasn’t even been a week since the trade happened and Eagles Twitter has managed to dissect every possible angle of this controversial move. There’s the people who are furious at Roseman for passing up the chance to possibly select Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts. Other fans are celebrating in the streets of Twitter as the Eagles could potentially have three first round picks come 2022. Then there’s me, who’s here to tell you that Howard Craig Roseman is the man with at least 12% of a plan.
“There’ll be 4 quarterbacks taken in the first 6 or 7 picks of the Draft. Take that to the bank.”
Adam Schefter has been pretty vocal about his quarterback predictions for the 2021 NFL Draft, as seen in the quote above from an NFL Live appearance. He’s even said that, “the first four picks could be QB”, which would mark the first time in NFL history that’s happened. If five quarterbacks go in the top eleven that significantly raises the chances the Eagles will get a premium prospect at their new draft slot. Penei Sewell, Ja’Marr Chase, Rashawn Slater and Patrick Surtain II all have a good chance of going top ten. But the Eagles should have their choice of a blue chip prospect at 12 overall due to the talent depth of this draft class.
Let’s dive in to what Roseman and company could be planning, while also looking at who could potentially be available at 12. It’s no mystery that the Eagles have needs all over the roster and lack premium young talent at key positions. Roseman could select the best player available on April 29th and it would almost certainly be an upgrade to the current roster. One has to believe, that went into the decision making process of trading back, as the Eagles won’t be able to fill all of their holes in one offseason. Another part of what I believe enticed the Eagles about a trade back is, the flexibility it gives them. If they decide to stay at 12 then you’re still getting an immediate starting caliber player. At 12th overall, the Eagles should definitely still be looking for a cornerback or wide receiver as those are the two of the deepest positions in this draft. I have ranked the Eagles WR/CB options at 12 based on their fit with the team and how likely they are to be there for the Eagles to select:
1.) CB Jaycee Horn
I ranked Horn #1 in my list because I believe he is the prospect who fits the best and is most likely to be there when the Eagles are on the clock. I would take Smith and Waddle over Horn but I think the Eagles need a little bit of luck in order for one of them to fall to 12. Horn is no slouch though and would bring an insane amount of talent to the Eagles CB room. Jaycee Horn is seen as a consensus top 2 cornerback in this class and is a nice fit for Jonathan Gannon’s defensive scheme. Now, Horn does have concerns as he can be a bit too physical and grabby at times in coverage. Being grabby at the next level could limit him from reaching his ceiling. However, because the organization has brought in a defensive coaching staff that is known for their cornerback development then they should have no issue letting the staff mold him into the player they envision. If Patrick Surtain II is off the board as expected, then the Eagles should give serious consideration to selecting Horn at 12 overall.
2.) WR Devonta Smith
The Heisman trophy winner out of Alabama, who had a stellar 2020 season on his way to a national championship. A lot of draft experts thought Smith wouldn’t be available at 6 early in the pre-draft process, but Smith could slide on draft day due to concerns about his frame and weight. Smith stands 6’1 and weighs 174 pounds. One of the concerns with a player of that size is whether or not he’ll be able to beat press coverage at the next level. Smith ranked 2nd in college football (behind Kyle Pitts) in PFFs grading of pass catchers against press coverage. Obviously there are still concerns about his size, but I think it’s worth the risk at 12. If the Eagles traded back for an additional first and still managed to pick up a prospect like Smith then you can call this draft a major win after day one.
3.) WR Jaylen Waddle
Another Alabama product who is projected to go high in the draft. Unfortunately Waddle didn’t get to finish off his stellar start to the 2020 season like Smith. He led Alabama wide receivers in all major categories before he went down with a season ending ankle injury. You can’t go wrong with either Alabama product but some draft analysts believe that Waddle might have the higher upside in the pros. I wouldn’t be surprised if Waddle comes off the board before Smith but there’s still an outside chance he makes it to 12.
4.) CB Caleb Farley
Farley was once put in the same tier as Surtain II and Horn, but there has been recent buzz about his medical evaluations and the fact that Farley recently had a back procedure, that is raising questions. His agent said that the procedure was routine, but it has caused some to halt the hype train and proceed with caution. I believe Farley is still a top 15 pick based on talent alone, but if the medical reports come back questionable, I could see the Eagles steering clear. After taking a shot on Sidney Jones and whiffing a few years ago, they might be weary to go down that road once again. I wouldn’t put back injuries in the same class as tearing your achilles, but the problem with back issues is, they never seem to go away. If the Eagles do their homework and know what they’re getting then ideally, there would be no problem with Farley being the pick at 12.
The Eagles will have a swing at a good prospect when they’re on the clock at 12th overall. However, say someone like Kyle Pitts takes a tumble on draft day and he ends up being available at 9 (Denver Broncos selection). The Eagles could package a third rounder and get back into the top 10, all while keeping that additional first they traded back for. That’s why I believe in the flexibility of trading back with the Dolphins, but this move can’t be fully evaluated until we know who they select with the 12th pick.