2021 NFL Draft Rumors: Eagles Liked Zach Wilson Before Trade Back with Dolphins

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2021

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson scrambles during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Coastal Carolina Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Conway, S.C.Coastal Carolina won 22-17. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly liked BYU quarterback Zach Wilson early in the draft process before deciding moving back was a more productive way to build a team, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Rephrasing an earlier tweet for clarity: Early on in the draft prospect, the #Eagles felt Zach Wilson was a strong prospect, but for where they are, they felt moving back and collecting a future 1st rounder was a better way to build a team.

Instead, the San Francisco 49ers acquired the No. 3 overall pick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the No. 12 overall pick in the 2021 draft, first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-round pick in 2022, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Eagles subsequently announced that they traded the No. 6 and No. 156 overall picks in the 2021 NFL draft to the Dolphins for the No. 12 and No. 123 overall picks in the 2021 draft, as well as a first-round pick in 2022.

By moving back to the 12th selection, the Eagles likely took themselves out of the running for the top four quarterbacks in the draft: Wilson, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance.

It is possible Alabama quarterback Mac Jones will be available at No. 12, but it is unclear if the Eagles have interest in him.

In particular, Wilson has been a popular player high in mock drafts on the heels of his huge season at BYU in 2020.

After putting up modest numbers in his first two seasons, Wilson broke out as a junior, completing 73.5 percent of his passes for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions to go along with 254 yards and 10 scores on the ground.

Wilson had the makings of a potential franchise quarterback for the Eagles had they traded up, but the likeliest landing spots for him now are the New York Jets, 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions or Carolina Panthers.

Since the Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason and signed veteran Joe Flacco as a backup, it appears as though the starting quarterback job will belong to Jalen Hurts.

Philly drafted the Oklahoma product in the second round last year, and he eventually supplanted Wentz as the starter after the 28-year-old's nightmarish beginning to the season.

Hurts went on to appear in 15 games as a rookie, starting four of them. He went 1-3 as a starter and completed 52.0 percent of his passes for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions, in addition to rushing for 354 yards and three scores.

While Hurts still has plenty of developing left to do, especially as a passer, he earned the opportunity to at least prove over the course of a full season whether he can be the long-term answer under center.

The Eagles seem pretty resigned to the idea of 2021 being a rebuilding year, and trading down in this year's draft to acquire a future first-round pick seems to back up that notion.