Don’t rule out Eagles trading up for NFL Draft’s best CB, Ahmad Gardner

Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner, Cincinnati Bearcats (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool)
Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner, Cincinnati Bearcats (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool) /

If you’re one of those people who believe the Philadelphia Eagles need to lock down the other starting outside cornerback position opposite Darius Slay, you aren’t alone. You’d also be justified in your arguments that some of the recent moves they have made demonstrate a lackadaisical approach, gambling unnecessarily, and downright negligence.

They took an injured Sidney Jones during the second round in 2017 with the hope that the gamble would pay off (it didn’t). We’ve also seen them add guys like Ronald Darby and Steven Nelson post-draft.

Philly hasn’t taken a cover guy in the first round of any draft since they selected Lito Sheppard in 2002. There were theories that they had serious interest in Jaycee Horn last year during the 2021 NFL Draft, but he went to the Carolina Panthers eighth-overall, two spots before Philly wound up taking DeVonta Smith.

Some believe 2022 could be the year though. With two first-round selections, the Birds are in a prime position to add a difference-maker for their secondary if they want to. Conventional thinking would suggest that Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, the man widely regarded as the cream of this draft class’s crop, will be long gone by the time the Eagles are on the board at 15, but hold your horses.

It appears there’s some interest. Philadelphia is behaving as though they didn’t get that memo.

Might the Eagles package picks and move up to select Ahmad Gardner?

As we settled into the first full week of April, Geoff Mosher reported that the Philadelphia Eagles plan to host Gardner on a pre-draft visit this weekend. It felt like due diligence at the time. Again, theories suggest there’s no way he falls to Philadelphia at 15.

It wasn’t that long ago that many of us saw things differently. While throwing some of our earlier mock drafts together, often, we, at one time or another, connected the dots linking him to an Eagles team in need of cornerback help, but that seems like it was six months ago. Much has changed since then.

Philly no longer has three first-round draft picks. Sauce is getting grades that place him among the top five to ten players who will be taken, but even though the common opinion is the Eagles will have to come to grips with looking elsewhere, Mosher and Adam Caplan believe it would make sense for the Birds to trade up.

That was one of the topics they discussed on a recent episode of their Inside The Birds podcast. Mosher posed the question, and it’s an interesting one. If Ahmad Gardner doesn’t get drafted as one of the top five selections, should the Eagles package 15 and 18 to trade up and select him? Caplan’s response? Take a look for yourself. (fast forward to 16:30 for the audio).

"Yes! Here’s why. I really took this to heart when Bill Polian was explaining this to us… You never pass up the opportunity to get an upgrade. Darius Slay – We can debate what elite means. He’s just really, really good… He’s a very good football player. He does turn 32 in January. You figure maybe he’s got two really good years left in him. (The Eagles) don’t have a number 2 corner outside. They don’t have a number three. We’ll see about (Zech) McPhearson, if he can be the third guy. If you have a chance to get an elite player like Ahmad Gardner, you go get him."

Frankly, we’d rather see the Eagles stay put at 15 and 18 and get the best players available. Doing so would allow them to address two areas of need rather than one position.

Recent conversations have mentioned the possibility of Derek Stingley possibly landing in the Eagles’ lap during the middle of Round 1. There’s also some talk that the Birds are ‘all-in’ on former Washington Huskies standout Trent McDuffie.

Trending. Ranking the most popular 1st-round options. light

We’re still three weeks out from the selection meeting which is scheduled to begin on April 28th in Las Vegas. Truthfully, no one knows what the Eagles will do, but if history is any indication, here’s the best way to navigate all of this. Continue to expect the unexpected.

No one thought Howie Roseman would make three draft picks in Round 1. No one believes that he’ll make all ten of the picks that the Eagles have now.