No matter how you slice this, there is going to be a long period of waiting this weekend. There is simply no way to avoid it. The Eagles won't be on the clock in Round 1 until, approximately, 11:25 tonight. And at that time, we'll find out the plan, assuming, of course, that the Eagles hadn't previously moved up in a trade. One of the many rewards of winning the Super Bowl? The Long Wait to Pick No. 32 in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The objective for the Eagles this weekend: Bring in as many good players as possible. The team has six draft picks at the moment, not the ideal number but that's where the Eagles are after trading in past years to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz (second-round draft pick traded), cornerback Ronald Darby (third-round pick traded), and running back Jay Ajayi (fourth-round pick traded). The deals were well worth it given the return – the Lombardi Trophy to begin with.
Tonight is going to be an exercise in patience for all of us, and that's fine. There is certainly intrigue at the top of the draft wondering who the Browns will take No. 1, and watching to see what the Giants do at No. 2, and then seeing how the quarterback derby plays out.
After that, it will be a bit tedious because there is just no way the Eagles are going to get involved in anything high in the draft. If you really think there is any chance the Eagles will move up in the first round, then start paying attention around pick No. 25. It's a longshot, at best, but that's probably about as far up as the Eagles could go without mortgaging some valuable pieces of future drafts.
In fact, the common chatter out there is that it's more likely that the Eagles will move out of the first round and trade into Day 2. Many teams are thinking the same thing, so we'll see what kind of market the Eagles have as the first round ends and how the trade market reacts as the team looks to up its draft pick count. Six isn't ideal, but it's what the Eagles have. They would love to get to around eight draft picks, and the way to do that is to deal No. 32 and move into the Day 2 proceedings. Currently, the Eagles have no picks in Rounds 2 or 3.
How do we spend the night? The Eagles have their Draft Party at Lincoln Financial Field, and that's going to be especially festive with the fans gathering to celebrate the Super Bowl victory and to transition to 2018. Inside the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles will convene inside the second-floor Draft Room, a newly opened, state-of-the-art draft headquarters that takes the days of white walls and magnetic nameplates of a "draft board" and renders that concept into the dark ages. The new Draft Room is gorgeous, spacious, comfortable, and technologically perfect to dial up instant information on players and share communications internally and with other teams around the league.
But it's going to be a long, long night and it's going to be a wonderful one. This is the start of the NFL Draft, the most important roster-building weekend of every season. The Eagles need to hit on their picks here. Let's not pretend that everything is going to go smoothly and without hiccups just because the Eagles won the Super Bowl in February and that the roster looks very solid right now. The core of the roster for every team is acquired during the draft. The Eagles need to be great here.
The good news is that an aggressive, creative approach in free agency has bolstered the roster to the point where there are no obvious position-reaches needed, so the Eagles can do the "best-player-on-the-board" thing and that is always the best and most fruitful approach. The Eagles have an outstanding personnel department in place, from top to bottom, on the pro side and on the college side. It just works now, and you feel it every day in the building. As good as the chemistry is for the Eagles in the locker room and on the coaching staff, it is equally as strong on the personnel side. The Eagles have something great happening, and another excellent draft weekend will continue the momentum.
So, what to expect tonight? After the wait, some action. The Eagles will explore every possibility to move, and in the end, they're likely to be on the clock late at night pondering options. The best bet is that there is going to be a lot of value at No. 32 and that teams will want to move into that position for the final pick of the first round. Teams want to trade into 32 and the Eagles want more draft picks. Seems like a very good fit to trade out and make a deal.
But until then, we won't know. Until then, enjoy the celebration. You deserve it. The Eagles are Super Bowl champions, the draft is at the home of the Dallas Cowboys and, well, it couldn't have worked out much better than this. A year ago we were partying in Philadelphia as the NFL Draft weekend became the envy of all sports' draft events. It was a party like no other. Well, we're still partying. The Eagles are the team to beat and the whole world knows it and the draft is being held on the home turf of the Eagles' arch rivals. Very sweet.
When it comes down to business, it's about improving the roster across the board. The Eagles have a job to do this weekend, starting tonight, to improve an already-strong roster and position this team for success in 2018 and many years to come.