What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Does a trade up to number one make sense for Philadelphia?

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports Images)

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports Images)

Here’s a hump day roundup of Eagles-related links to get you through the pre-draft lull period.

Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com ran through a few trade scenarios for this year’s number one overall pick. He believes the Eagles could be in play.

What it would likely take to trade to No. 1:

  • 2016 first round pick (No. 8)
  • 2017 first round pick
  • 2016 third round pick (No. 79)

Why it makes sense: The Eagles are set in the short-term with Sam Bradford inked to a two-year deal, but need a long-term answer at the quarterback position. They have been doing their due diligence on the top quarterback prospects in this draft class and if they fall for one of them and don’t want to risk it, a move to the top spot makes some sense.

Why it doesn’t make sense: First of all, the price tag. Without a second round pick this year at their disposal, it would require a future first round selection to make the jump to No. 1. If one of the quarterbacks falls to pick No. 8, there is a good chance the Eagles would take advantage. But with the off-season signings of Bradford and Chase Daniel, Philadelphia have stopgaps and shouldn’t feel pressured to sell the farm in order to trade up.

Adam Shefter joined the trade-up talk in an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano this morning, speculating that Fletcher Cox could be piece in the trade, but that he wouldn’t hold too much value.

I think we’ve talked about the Philadelphia Eagles throughout the course of the off-season being aggressive, and they have been. And I have sensed and expected all along that they be aggressive in this draft in trying to move up to position themselves to get one of these quarterbacks.

Fletcher Cox just as a player is worth a lot. But his contractual situation must be factored in to any deal they may or may not be making. Because of that, I think it mitigates it to a certain extent. He’s still an elite player, but that probably impacts his situation to a certain extent.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today thinks the Eagles could go for a quarterback in the later rounds.

Philadelphia didn’t shy away from spending on quarterbacks this offseason after new coach Doug Pederson’s arrival. Sam Bradford was brought back on a two-year contract, and Chase Daniel followed Pederson from Kansas City on a deal that would make him a highly paid backup or bargain starter. Yet Pederson still has said he expects the team to draft a third quarterback, if only as a developmental player behind Bradford and Pederson.

Assuming the Eagles don’t draft a quarterback at No. 8 overall, Arkansas’ Brandon Allen could be an interesting third-day option. His timing and ability to make throws at the intermediate level would mesh well with Pederson’s offense.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk elaborates on how and why the momentum is gaining in league circles about the Eagles thinking quarterback in the upcoming draft, highlighting owner Jeffrey Lurie as a big reason why.

I believe they are doing everything they can to be ready in case one of the guys [Wentz/Goff] is there at number 8, to make that pick or not make that pick, to know everything there is to know, with the owner having access to it. He sits down and eats with these guys, he watches them, he talks to them, he gets his own feel of what kind of uy their doing business with, and it just shows their doing maximum due diligence on this qb piston, because owner Jeffrey Lurie has convinced everyone else in the organization: We have to find a franchise QB.

On that subject, Phil Sheridan takes a look back at the possible model for this year’s draft — 1999’s Donovan McNabb pick — and whether or not the risk of picking a quarterback over other, more highly rated players, is a good one.

Did the risk pay off? It most certainly did. Andy Reid had just been hired as the Eagles’ head coach and he was determined to find his franchise quarterback in his first draft. Meanwhile, thanks to sports talk radio, there was a very loud clamor for the Eagles to select Heisman-winning Texas running back Ricky Williams. That led to the infamous booing of Donovan McNabb at the 1999 draft. But McNabb took the Eagles to the playoffs in his second season. He took them to five NFC Championship Games in an eight-year span (2001-08), plus one Super Bowl appearance. After 11 seasons, McNabb was traded away, but he remains the franchise’s all-time leader in completions, yards, touchdown passes and victories.

Was there a safer move? For all the tempest about Ricky Williams at the time, the running back did not have nearly as good an NFL career that McNabb had. Edgerrin James, who was taken one pick ahead of Williams, had a better overall career. But Reid wanted a quarterback, and there was a glut of them that year.

In other news, John Breitenbach of Pro Football Focus evaluates the Eagles’ signing of guard Stefen Wisniewski.

The Eagles were aggressive in free agency, adding Brandon Brooks to a slightly-inflated contract once the legal signing period opened. The Texans’ guard didn’t have his best season last year, but will prove a dramatic upgrade on the Eagles’ 2015 starters. Over his three years with over 1,000 snaps, Brooks has allowed just three sacks, 14 hits, and 60 hurries. He finished as our eighth-ranked pass-protector last season, with an 84.4 grade (two sacks, five hits and 19 hurries allowed).

Wisniewski has a similarly-impressive record at keeping his QB upright. He also ranked eighth in pass protection—this time when compared with centers—allowing only two sacks and 11 hurries in 2015. Guards tend to be more exposed to one-on-one matchups in the passing game, adding value to Wisniewski’s solid performance at the position as a rookie. Back in 2011, he allowed just two sacks, five hits, and 18 hurries for the Raiders. Wisniewski may require an adjustment period, considering the fact he hasn’t played guard for a number of years, and is far from guaranteed a starting job, but he is a major upgrade to the depth at LG.

David Steele of Sportingnews.com highlights Darren Sproles as one of the biggest draft steals of recent history.

4th round, 130th overall, 15th RB: It’s amazing enough that at 5-6, Sproles has survived 11 years as a running back, receiver and kick returner, and that he’s less than 300 yards from cracking the all-time top 10 in career all-purpose yardage. It’s more amazing that two teams have given up on him already, the Chargers and Saints; you’d think that even at 33 (when the season starts), the Eagles are smart enough not to give up on him, too.

And finally, Elliott Harrison sat down with Will Sullivan to rank the top 5 Eagles players of all time for PE.com. After Harold Carmichael, Brian Dawkins, Steve Van Buren, and Reggie White, Harrison ranks the number one Eagle of all time as:

Harrison: It’s gotta be Chuck Badnarik, man. Chuck Badnarik started with the Eagles in 1949, as a rookie. They won the NFL title. He would play all the way into the 60s, missed three games in 14 years.
Sullivan: Talk about consistency there.
Harrison: He played both ways in the 1960 championship, Linebacker and center, because injuries forced him to. He’s the last of the two-way players in the NFL.