Eagles Wake-Up Call: What About Trading Back?

Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

Today’s question comes via email from Paul:

I think we’ve covered every possible trade-up scenario for Marcus Mariota, but a lot of the prospects you’ve written about seem to have late first or early second-round projections. How likely is it that the Eagles trade back?

My initial thought is that we’re going to learn a lot about Chip Kelly’s drafting philosophy based on his willingness (or unwillingness) to trade back.

Looking at the 2014 draft, Kelly made it clear that the Eagles had six players targeted in the first round. Rather than trade up to ensure they’d land one of the six, they stood pat and watched them all go off the board. The result was an eventual trade back and the Marcus Smith II selection.

As we’ve gone over in this space, the idea that Kelly sat back and just let Howie Roseman make picks last year is silly. However, it’s reasonable to wonder whether Roseman was the one directing certain aspects of the operation – like projecting where guys would go, deciding how much was too much to give up in a trade, etc. And it seems reasonable to conclude that Kelly was unhappy with the way some of those things played out.

Turning the page to this year, might Kelly view potential trade backs as too risky? Many of the players the Eagles could have interest in – USC WR Nelson Agholor, Oregon OL Jake Fisher, Utah CB Eric Rowe – very well could be available later in the first round or even early in the second.

If the first 19 picks go a certain way, will Kelly shop No. 20 and try to pick up additional bullets? Or will he opt to avoid the risk of potentially missing out on one of his guys and simply make the pick at 20 even if it’s a reach?

Aside from the Mariota stuff, it might be the most fascinating subplot of the draft for the Eagles. Kelly has spent much of the offseason explaining how important draft picks are. Then again, he also said that the Eagles tried to acquire Sam Bradford for draft picks only, adding that they didn’t want to give up Nick Foles in the deal.

My sense is that Kelly will be more concerned with making sure he gets guys he wants than maximizing value. In other words, I think a “reach” at No. 20 is more likely than a trade back, even if a trade back makes sense.


A look at how much Kelly values pre-draft visits and workouts.

Mocks, trade rumors and prospect notes in yesterday’s draft buzz thread.

Ten offensive linemen who could be fits for the Eagles.

Cedric Thornton has signed his one-year tender.


Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice thinks the Eagles’ top priority needs to be finding consistency at the quarterback position:

As the Eagles’ roster currently stands, their starting quarterback heading into Week 1 is Sam Bradford, who as we all know, is coming off a pair of ACL tears in consecutive seasons and has a contract set to expire after the 2015 season. Let’s say the Eagles go into the 2015 season with Bradford as the starter. If you listed the teams around the league who were likely to have someone different behind center in 2016 from their 2015 Week 1 starter, the Eagles would be near the top of the list.

In the NFL, you either have a franchise quarterback, or you don’t. And if you don’t, you have no chance unless you have some kind of historic defense like the 2000 Ravens or the 2003 Buccaneers. The Eagles don’t have a historic defense. Well, it’s not historic in a good way, anyway. And obviously, they certainly don’t have a “franchise QB.”

Andrew Kulp of the 700 Level looks at the leverage Bradford has in any potential trade for Mariota:

 The Browns are one of the more dysfunctional organizations around, but Bradford could decide to take a similar stand with any club at the top of the draft. It doesn’t behoove him to sign a long-term contract with a bad team—perhaps even in Philadelphia right this moment—when he would be able to handpick his destination in 2016.

Essentially, Bradford actually has some leverage in the event the Kelly wanted to turn around and flip him for Mariota. Why would a team give up an early draft choice for a quarterback who expresses zero intention of staying?


The countdown to the draft continues.