I've heard 'em all. Read everything. The Eagles are A) Trading way, way up in the draft; B) Trading for a veteran wide receiver/offensive lineman/you name it; C) Staying put at 21 and 28 and definitely *including an offensive lineman in that mix. Rumors. Reports. It's all nonsense at this point, but let's examine what the Eagles actually *could do if they had the interest ...
To move into the top 10, the Eagles would have to give up, what, their 21st pick and at least a second-round pick? Given what value chart teams use, and how badly those teams want out of the first 10 picks, the Eagles would have some flexibility.
And with 12 draft picks, plus the salary-cap room to sign a top, top, top draft pick, the Eagles could move up as high as they wanted in this draft. This may be the time to do it. This may be the draft. But who would the Eagles move up to get? Is the talent level at the top of the draft that much different than what the Eagles would draft at 21 or 28?
At some positions, it sure looks that way. There are, as the analysts say, three star-quality left tackle prospects in this draft -- Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe and Andre Smith. And all three are likely to be drafted among the top 6-10 picks. If the Eagles really want to take that approach, and go after one of those three tackles, they have to get into the top 10.
Then again, maybe the Eagles value the tackle prospects differently. Maybe they think there is another tackle out there who is a player they can develop. Maybe they don't think there is a tackle out there who is better than what they think they have at left tackle -- which at this point could very well be Todd Herremans or Shawn Andrews.
Is there another player for whom the Eagles would trade into the top 10? Michael Crabtree? Jeremy Maclin? Who? What?
The Eagles have traded up in the Andy Reid era. They have the great situation of having 12 draft picks and having two first-rounders. They aren't going to shy away from the enormous signing bonus the top, top picks receive. And there are a lot of teams that could be willing to move out of the top 10 for the right price.
It is likely that the Eagles have had talks with teams in the top 10. Maybe even the top five. But right now, there is not substantive to report. Any trade into a prime draft spot probably wouldn't happen until that team is on the clock. The Eagles, you can bet, are laying the groundwork right now, just to get a firm feel of the market.
**TRADING FOR A VETERAN
For months and months, the talk out there has been that the Eagles must acquire a veteran wide receiver, and there have been some very good names bandied about in the rumor mills. Nothing, though, has come of those rumors. And there doesn't seem to be anything in the works. Now, look, everything I know about what the Eagles' true draft intentions can fit into a thimble, but I stand by the stance taken way back when: I don't think the Eagles are going to trade for a wide receiver. I don't see it happening. They would upgrade if they can, but it would take a significant step up from Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson, and at the right price, to do so.
The Eagles have other needs. They have other wants. And with 12 draft picks, they can address those needs without sacrificing other interests.
How about trading for an offensive lineman? Well, the idea makes sense. Offensive line is an area the Eagles should be interested in addressing, but is there another team out there with the right player available? Truly available, not just Internet-rumor available.
I'm expecting a pretty wild draft weekend, and I do think the Eagles will be as unpredictable as any team. They usually are, right? I'm just not holding my breath on a massive trade. The Eagles have the assets to deal, so if there is a chance to make something happen, they can do what they want to do.
A bunch of fans are on a wide receiver-or-bust kick, and have been since free agency began. That is not a good mindset to have with the draft a heartbeat away. The Eagles traded Greg Lewis, so if they plan to have six wide receivers, they will address the position. And maybe they will get a player who can return kicks and help in the special teams. But a "No. 1" wide receiver? It's Jackson as he develops in year two.
**OFFENSIVE LINE AT 21 OR 28
Really? Why? I read Mock Drafts and some suggest the Eagles would take a right tackle at 28 and I think that maybe I've missed the entire off-season. A right tackle? What? Are you kidding me? I guess would be completely shocked if Stacy Andrews is not the starting right tackle when the season begins and, for that matter, for the next generation here.
The Eagles could go offensive line at 21 or 28, yeah, but I don't think they have to do so. The Eagles think Shawn Andrews can play left tackle. They think Stacy Andrews can play right tackle. They think Nick Cole can start at guard. And they think that both Herremans and Jamaal Jackson are quality starters in the league.
Furthermore, the Eagles have to find out about some of their younger interior linemen like Mike McGlynn, Mike Gibson and, to a degree, Max Jean-Gilles (although he played well last year before his injury). Winston Justice? He has to prove a lot to make this team and to earn playing time, if it is there in front of him.
It would not surprise me in the least to see the Eagles put some emphasis into the offensive line in this draft. But to say that it is their top priority, and a must have in Round 1 is something that I strongly disagree with.
It's all speculation now, anyway. The truth is, a very small handful of men know the plans, and they aren't telling me. And they aren't saying much at all, because the draft still has a few days to twist and turn in a direction that none of us expects on April 25 and April 26.