Wake-Up Call: Making Sense Of the Rumors

Evans and Manziel
Peter King. Sal Paolantonio. Chris Mortensen. The Eagles are interested in trading up, up, up.

Over the last few days, some of the industry’s heavyweights have reported that the Eagles are exploring the possibility of moving up to snag a premiere wide receiver. King and Mortensen suggested Odell Beckham is the target. (King has the Eagles jumping from 22 to 15 to grab the LSU wideout in his mock draft.)

Paolantonio told Mike Missanelli Tuesday that the Eagles are considering an even larger leap.

“They’re not necessarily going after Brandin Cooks or [Beckham], they are trying to go up higher than that,” said Paolantonio. “So how much are they willing to give up to go up there and who is a possible dance partner? What I’m hearing is that basically they would have to break the bank in order to get up as high as they want to get to Mike Evans. I don’t think Evans…is getting past Tampa Bay at 7, and I don’t think Sammy Watkins in getting past Cleveland at 4 and I certainly don’t think he’s getting past Oakland at 5.

“You’ll have to give up next year’s number one to do that in addition to other picks. I think it’s 22 this year, a number one next year and maybe a third round this year and a third round next year to go all the way up there.”

When you have three of the big dogs barking, it would be ill-advised to assume they are just barking at the wind. I don’t doubt that Howie Roseman has talked trade scenarios with a number of teams. In fact, he told reporters last Thursday that he will speak with all 31 other squads before the draft about potential deals.

When you are talking to so many GMs, it’s impossible to hide it. Word will get out that you are exploring trade options. The target, though, can be concealed. The Eagles aren’t in the habit of revealing their desired draft prospects, even to our industry’s most plugged-in personas. I just can’t see any of the team’s key decision-makers spilling the beans. In sum, the Eagles seem open to moving up, but it’s less certain who they covet specifically.

The idea that the Eagles are willing to mortgage both the 2014 and ’15 drafts for a single receiver in a receiver-rich draft doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. I keep going back to Riley Cooper, who ended up with 835 yards and eight touchdowns in the first year under Kelly. He had 46 catches for 617 yards and five touchdowns combined in the three seasons prior. Does Kelly really feel it necessary to sacrifice so many valuable draft picks for one wide receiver, particularly when so many good ones are expected to be available throughout the draft? Not so sure. My takeaway is that the Eagles are looking at their options when it comes to moving up, but it won’t necessarily be in the name of a wideout.

Could it be for a quarterback? ESPN’s Field Yates threw some fuel on the Johnny Manziel fire.

King referenced a similar “buzz” about a potential union a couple weeks back. I am skeptical. The Eagles will have an interesting choice on their hands if Manziel falls to 22, but I don’t know that they will aggressively pursue him otherwise.

WHAT YOU MISSED

In the latest Draft Daily, Sheil looks at some potential safety targets for the Eagles.

Will they select a quarterback in this draft?

One respected analyst has safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix falling to 22.

“If you have four good drafts in a row…” Roseman on building a contender. 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

If it feels like the Eagles are always going lineman in the first round, well, they pretty much are, writes Reuben Frank.

In fact, going back to 1991, an incredible 17 of their 21 first-round picks have been offensive or defensive linemen.The exceptions: Donovan McNabb in 1999, Freddie Mitchell in 2001, Lito Sheppard in 2002 and Jeremy Maclin in 2009.That’s four non-linemen in the first round since Buddy Ryan was fired…

Since 1991 — nearly a quarter of a century — the Eagles have drafted more linemen in the first round than any other NFL team.They’ve taken 17, ahead of the Rams (14), Seahawks (13) and Vikings and 49ers (12).

Evans and Kelvin Benjamin have both been linked to the Eagles. Greg Cosell recently wrote about both of them for Yahoo!.

It’s highly likely Evans will be drafted before Benjamin, the conventional wisdom being, how many teams will take a chance on a “slow” (4.61 40-yard dash at the combine) receiver with “suspect” hands? I guess few remember that Boldin ran a 4.7 at his combine; he’d likely run about 4.9 now, but all Boldin has done is average almost 80 catches and more than 1,000 yards in his 11-year NFL career, including 1,179 yards last season, at age 33. Isn’t that the point? For big, physical wide receivers with the ability to use their bodies effectively and snatch the ball outside their frame, straight-line speed is not the consequential attribute it is often made out to be

COMING UP

Sheil and I will discuss the possibility of a first-round trade for the Eagles.

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