Eagles Wake-Up Call: On Trading Up For A QB

What history tells us about trading up in the draft to select a quarterback.

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

There have been two separate reports in the last 48 hours naming the Eagles as a team who could potentially trade up in the draft next month to select a quarterback.

First, on Wednesday afternoon, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein reported that an NFC executive told him to not be surprised “if a team like the Eagles makes a really strong move up the board to get [North Dakota State quarterback Carson] Wentz,” Then, in a story published yesterday, the MMQB’s Robert Klemko mentioned Philadelphia as one of four teams “in play to trade up to the No. 1 spot.” (Klemko also noted how Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said Tennessee is “open to moving the pick.”)

During this time of the year, you have to take these kinds of reports with a grain of salt. Teams don’t want to tip their hands on their draft plans, and they may even try to mislead others. But these stories bring up an important question: should the Eagles trade up for Wentz or California quarterback Jared Goff?

Jared Dubin of CBS Sports put together a helpful chart last year of the 14 times since 2000 that teams have traded up to draft a quarterback in the first round. The moral of the story? It rarely pays off. Here’s Dubin’s conclusion:

The draft is a crap shoot, above anything else, and surrendering extra picks and/or players just gives you one less roll of the dice. Even if you think the quarterback you’re moving up to acquire is a sure thing, it’s more likely than not that you’re wrong. Sure things don’t come around very often, and tricking yourself into believing you have spotted the one guy who can change everything is more likely to come back to haunt you than to result in wild success.

When you find your franchise quarterback, as the Giants did with Eli Manning and the Ravens did with Joe Flacco, you can almost disregard what those teams gave up because of how valuable the position is. The problem? In most situations, you don’t end up finding your guy, and you quickly value those picks you gave up a lot more.

If Goff or Wentz were considered to be a “can’t-miss” prospect like Andrew Luck was, perhaps it’d make sense to give up the farm. But Goff and Wentz pale in comparison to previous top quarterback prospects since 2011, at least in terms of how they’re viewed coming out of college.

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah published his ranking yesterday of the top 10 quarterback prospects in the last five years, which doesn’t factor in how they played in the pros. Wentz, whom Jeremiah considers a better prospect than Goff, ranks behind the top quarterback in four of the last five classes, and he’s even behind the second quarterback in two of the classes. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. views the top of this year’s class even less favorably.

QB Prospect Rankings Since 2011

RankDaniel JeremiahESPN's Scouts Inc.
1.Andrew LuckAndrew Luck
2.Cam NewtonRobert Griffin III
3.Robert Griffin IIIJameis Winston
4.Jameis WinstonBlaine Gabbert
5.Teddy BridgewaterRyan Tannehill
6.Marcus MariotaMarcus Mariota
7.Carson WentzCam Newton
8.Jared GoffCarson Wentz
9.Johnny ManzielJared Goff
10.Blake BortlesBlake Bortles

If a sure-fire franchise quarterback were at stake, it’d make sense to give up a few picks to ensure success at the most important position on the field. But, according to most accounts, Goff and Wentz are anything but, so it makes more sense for the Eagles to minimize the “crap shoot” that is the NFL draft by staying at No. 8.


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Paul Domowitch remembers former Eagles fullback Kevin Turner, who passed away yesterday.

He earned his money the hard way. He earned it by lowering his head and shoulder and serving as a battering ram for the headline-makers, for Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner and Duce Staley. They got the yards. He got the stingers and the nerve damage.

Even after he was diagnosed with ALS, he never regretted playing in the NFL. But he admitted he might’ve done some things differently if he had known the risks that came with all of those head shots.

“I would like to have had the (concussion) information,” he said three years ago. “It might have kept me from . . . I might’ve played six years instead of eight. It might’ve prevented me from going back into a game or practice when I knew I was still dazed.

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Pederson acknowledged he hired Schwartz without an extensive knowledge of exactly how Schwartz’s D works. “I’ll be trained in his philosophy this spring,” Pederson said.

One thing Pederson already is clear on – presumably, he and Schwartz have discussed it – is that impressive 2015 rookie Jordan Hicks is the 4-3 middle linebacker.

“I think Jordan is smart enough. He’s going to understand the scheme. Jim has talked about how simplistic his scheme will be, keeping it fast for the guys. Jordan will be good,” Pederson said. “It’s a comfortable position for him. He communicates well in there. Right mindset, right size to fill that spot.”


We’ll take a look at what several draft analysts expect the Eagles to do in the first round.