I can’t seem to stress enough that the Eagles only hold six picks in the 2014 draft at present. It’s because this is going to be one of the deepest drafts in a long time, thanks in large part to a record number of underclassmen tossing their names into the hat.
In other words, players who would normally get drafted in the first round might go in the second. Second-rounders might last to the fourth. Fourth-rounders to the seventh. Players who won’t hear their names called this May—who might’ve been enjoying celebrations by dinner time on Day 3 most years—could find themselves playing major roles for NFL teams this season.
In my experience, fans often hate the idea of trading down. Add more picks, sure, but pass up on the best player on the board. The fact is though, the Eagles have needs at wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebacker, inside linebacker, cornerback, safety and kicker—in some cases, two at a position—and only six selections to fill them as of this writing.
As Jimmy Kempski for Philly.com explored in his breakdown of possible trade scenarios, there is no shortage of clubs that have the firepower to move up in the draft.
Say one of the top three quarterback prospects fell to No. 22, and the Cleveland Browns wanted to jump up four spots to grab him. I don’t know about you, but I would take an extra fourth-rounder off of their hands.
A team as deep as the San Francisco 49ers can’t possibly use all of its 11 picks in the draft. Moving down to No. 30 would be a little more painful, but the payoff there could be an added choice in the third.
In those cases, the Eagles aren’t even dropping out of the first round, yet gain picks at a point in the draft when there will still be quality, perhaps even starting-caliber players to be found. Creative it’s not, but more lottery tickets means more chances to hit on a winner, a strategy the Birds can’t afford to overlook.