Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles First Round Pick Conundrum

The Philadelphia Eagles have a first round pick conundrum. The 2014 NFL Draft is quickly approaching and they currently own the number 22 pick. The Eagles have needs at the wide receiver, outside linebacker, and secondary positions. Head Coach Chip Kelly and General Manager Howie Roseman have been using the “best available” method when selecting players, but the way this draft looks and where the Eagles are selecting, the team seems to have a bit of a conundrum on their hands. Should the team stay put, trade up, trade down, or trade their first round pick completely? It’s hard to tell, but the Eagles do have some options with their first round selection.

The way this year’s draft is shaping up, some of the players that would seem to fit perfectly for the Eagles might be gone by the time the team is on the clock. Safety Calvin Pryor from Louisville would  fill a huge void. If the team pairs him with newly acquired safety Malcolm Jenkins, the organization would arguably have the best secondary in the NFC East division. The problem is the Calvin Pryor hype train is in full force and he might be taken way earlier than he should. Teams like the St. Louis Rams, Dallas Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers are teams that will be serious about taking him. All these teams pick ahead of Philadelphia. Another pressing need is for a edge rusher from the linebacker spot. This position is almost the same as the safety need. The “elite” pass rushers like, South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, and UCLA’s Anthony Barr, are all more than likely to be gone by the 15th pick. So do the Eagles, maybe reach for a guy like Auburn’s Dee Ford or take a guy that’s out of position in Missouri’s Kony Elay? The answer is no. These guys aren’t the “best available”. The team could very well take a receiver, but in my opinion, the receiver position is very talented this year, and quality players can be taken in later rounds. So selecting one with the number 22 pick is an option, but isn’t much of a pressing need. So, staying put maybe isn’t the best option overall.

Trading up in the draft is a risky move. The Eagles have been linked to possibly trading up in the draft to acquire Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, even if means trading up into the top 10. The team only has 6 picks in this years draft, the fewest since 2003. Trading up would mean the Eagles would have to at least give a couple of picks in this years draft and next years. Since the dumping of former Eagles wide out DeSean Jackson, the Eagles have a void at wide receiver, but giving up picks in a talent rich draft might not be the best decision, especially when you can find some hidden gems in the later rounds. Plus, you would be banking on a player who might not live up to the hype. Personally, I think Mike Evans will be a phenomenal player. He has the height at 6’5 and the sticky hands and instincts to be a superstar and easily fill, if not dramatically improve, the wide receiving group. But sometimes, the can’t miss prospects don’t always pan out. This years draft picks have become increasingly valuable with the amount of talent available. To see the team trade the barn for one player would be tough to swallow. If anything, the team should be looking to reload on picks, not hand them out like trading cards.

Trading down in the draft might not be the sexiest choice with the fans, but on a football perspective, it could very well be the most appealing option to the Eagles. Doing this, the team would be able to acquire more picks in the draft and fill more needs. Also, some of the players that would be available at, lets say the number 28 pick, which would mean a trade with the Carolina Panthers who have many needs would still be available. Guys like Dee Ford or Kony Elay would be great value picks at that spot and getting extra picks is a win win situation. Players, like Oregon State’s wide out Brandin Cooks and Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, could be there at a later spot as well. So, instead of reaching for players at the Eagles current 22 pick, the organization can trade back, possibly getting the player they want while acquiring other picks. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to say who will rise or drop in the draft, but the way some mock drafts are coming out, moving back in the first round could be a viable option.

With every offseason, the rumor mill begins to swirl, some carry weight and some don’t. There has been a reoccurring rumor of the Philadelphia Eagles trading their first round selection, linebacker Brandon Graham, and maybe a later or future pick for Miami Dolphins second year player and former number 3 pick in the 2013 draft, Dion Jordan. Jordan played for Chip Kelly at Oregon and was highly thought of coming out of college. Many thought and mocked Jordan going to Philly when they owned the number 4 pick in last years draft. As it turns out, the Dolphins traded up and selected Jordan and the Eagles took right tackle Lane Johnson. What a difference a year makes. Dion Jordan is now labeled bust by some, unfairly I might add, and now the Dolphins are at least reportedly entertaining the Eagles offer. Jordan is a perfect prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker, but was forced to make a transition to a 4-3 defensive end. This is not an easy task, especially for a rookie. The Eagles and Chip Kelly would love to see Dion Jordan in midnight green, but Miami would have to take a cap hit and give up on a player just one year into his career. A pick for player scenario makes sense to some degree in this situation. If the Dolphins agree, Philadelphia should not hesitate to pull the trigger.

The draft is on the horizon and the Eagles need to think long and hard about their first round selection. First round picks aren’t always the ones that turn a franchise around, but make no mistake, first round selections have a gigantic impact on a team’s future, positively or negatively. This years draft has many options for the birds. Trade up or trade down scenarios, surprising selections and even a pick for player trade have added to the mystery of the Eagles number 22 selection. The Philadelphia Eagles have choices with their first round pick. Eagles fans everywhere will be waiting and watching to finally see the answer to this conundrum.

 

 

 

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