Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Creative Moves Howie Roseman Should Make on Draft Day
Roseman has already stated the team's philosophy is to take the best player available, which the Eagles have followed in each of the past two drafts. It's worked out extremely well too, as the Eagles picked Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Nick Foles and Brandon Boykin in 2012 before adding Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz and Bennie Logan in 2013.
The Eagles have just six picks this year, and they've made it clear they would like more. They tried trading DeSean Jackson but weren't able to net any picks for him. At this point, Roseman is either going to have to settle for just six picks or he'll have to be creative on draft day to acquire some more picks.
Here are five possibilities for the fifth-year general manager and the Eagles on draft weekend.
1. Don't Reach for a Wide Receiver
There's a lot of people out there who think that the Eagles' best player available in the first round will just happen to be a wide receiver. After all, the loss of DeSean Jackson opens up a huge hole at the No. 1 receiver spot.
Jeremy Maclin is just a year removed from a serious knee injury. Riley Cooper had one productive year as the second receiver, largely because of Jackson's success. And the release of Jason Avant means no other receiver on the team is even guaranteed to make the team this season.
So if the Eagles deem Brandin Cooks or Odell Beckham or Marqise Lee to be the best player available in the first round, they should definitely pick him. But if they have a pass-rusher or safety higher on their big board, they can't just pick the receiver to compensate for the loss of Jackson.
This applies to every round, not just the first round.
2. Select Best Defensive Player Available with First Pick
As stated, the Eagles will select the best player available in this year's draft. I just don't agree with that philosophy. Well, half of it.
If I'm Roseman, I'm picking the best player available...on the defensive side of the ball. Sorry, guys, but the offense is legit. It's tremendous.
There's only one position on the offensive side of the ball that you could possibly make a case for the Eagles using a first-round pick on, and that's wide receiver. Not quarterback, running back, tight end, tackle, guard or center.
You could, and should, make a case for the Eagles using a first-round pick on any defensive position: tackle, end, linebacker, cornerback and especially safety.
That's why I would use the best-player-available strategy, but I'd tailor it to defense. I just feel it's more important to improve the defense to become a Super Bowl team than to add to an already-dominant offense.
Let's say the Eagles are available to pick at 22. Their top 13 players on the big board have been selected. Player 14 on their board is offensive tackle Zack Martin and player 15 is safety Calvin Pryor.
Well, who do you want? Exactly.
3. Trade Down as Much as Possible
The Eagles have to figure out a way to get more picks. This is a deep draft, loaded with high talent both in the early rounds and in the middle and even later rounds.
It's simple. Find a way to trade down as much as possible, even if it's only a few picks here and there. Moving down four spots in the third round to add another seventh-round pick is worth it in the long run.
4. Use Bryce Brown and Brandon Graham as Trade Bait
The Eagles also have a few players they could use as trade bait in this year's draft, particularly running back Bryce Brown and defensive end/linebacker Brandon Graham.
Brown has tons of upside, but he's not going to earn much playing time behind All-Pro LeSean McCoy. Graham had a breakout year in 2012 but couldn't translate his success into more playing time in 2013. The former first-round pick appears destined to remain a backup with the Eagles, despite his solid play off the bench.
Nether player really factors into the team's plans in 2014. If the Eagles could get even a sixth-round pick for either one, they have to seriously consider pulling the trigger.
5. Guarantee at Least One Safety
There's no way the Eagles can go the entire draft and not pick a safety. They just can't.
Look at the current safeties on the roster: Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Chris Maragos and Keelan Johnson. Jenkins will definitely start. Allen and Wolff will compete for the other starting spot. Maragos will play special teams. So will Johnson, if he makes the team.
None of the five is particularly good. Jenkins and Allen might be average. Might be.
You can't ignore the position forever. You can't keep plugging in average starters into the position, like Malcolm Jenkins, or castoffs, like Patrick Chung, or injury-plagued veterans, like Kenny Phillips and O.J. Atogwe and Marlin Jackson.
I'd like to see the Eagles go into the first round planning to draft Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor. I'd like to see the team make a move for Jimmie Ward or Deone Bucannon in the second round. Just get a safety.