Welcome to Round 1, in which the Eagles are saying they will "let the draft come" to them. With that, of course, the Eagles know the in-front-of-them scenarios are many, and that they are, in a sense, at the mercy of the unpredictability of what is expected to be a wild and crazy top 10 or so selections.
Ultimately, of course, we're going to judge the success of this draft on the entire body of picks and the full impact of the draft won't be known for two or three full seasons. But this moment is about tonight and an instant reaction to the player the Eagles bring to Philadelphia.
"Hopefully, when we turn the card in on Thursday night," vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said, "everybody is going to be high-fiving and we'll all be happy.
"I think worst-case scenario, and I think worst-case scenario is still going to be a great scenario, because I think there are 14 players in this draft that everyone in our organization would be excited to acquire. We need to keep adding good football players."
Let's begin with this: Anything can happen. It would seem unlikely that the Eagles move up in the draft given their modest holding of eight draft picks in the seven rounds. It just isn't feasible to give up draft picks to go get one player. Unless, naturally, the Eagles think that the one player is a difference-making talent.
The way the draftniks speak of this draft, there is no difference-making-player after projected No. 1 pick defensive end Myles Garrett. The feeling is that Garrett stands above the crowd in talent, and that picks two through 15 are very similar in pure ability. What's important with those picks is that teams get players that fit their specific systems.
would be the pick at No. 2 overall. It was a very fast and extremely jubilant first round for the Eagles.
Tonight won't play out that way. There are a lot of variables here: How many quarterbacks are selected in the top 13? Which players on the Eagles' draft board ranked one through 10 are still there at No. 14? Is there someone that nobody is talking about who earns the nod at 14?
"We want to bring in the best football players for the Philadelphia Eagles and we think we're in position in the first round to get someone who can really help us," Howie Roseman said. "It's an exciting time. We're all put in a lot of work to get to this point. Now we see what happens, because things move so fast with a lot of difference scenarios."
Where do the Eagles go at 14? It's so hard to say. If running back/receiver/do-it-all weapon Christian McCaffrey is still there at 14, could the Eagles pass on him? How about a wide receiver if Mike Williams and/or Corey Davis remain available? Isn't the idea to give Wentz as many options and weapons as possible?
Then again, the defense has some obvious areas of need, particularly on the edge, where a productive pass rusher is always needed, and in the secondary, where the cornerback position is particularly barren of experienced talent. And then there is the linebacker group, which could always use more playmakers.
Roseman has a history of being a mover and a shaker, but he's talked often of "lessons learned" from the past. If 2016 is an indication, the Eagles really and truly may let the draft come to them. Only late in the '16 draft did Roseman swing a trade – he dealt a sixth-round draft pick to Minnesota (the Vikings selected tight end David Morgan) and Roseman acquired a sixth-round pick (defensive back Blake Countess, now with the Rams), and a seventh-round draft pick (defensive end Alex McCalister, who was on Injured Reserve last season for the Eagles) – and the team felt and still feels very good about its draft.
If the Eagles are asking, "should I stay or should I go?" the answer could very well be "stay." What that means for tonight is that we watch and see how the top 10 picks play out, and then we see if Cleveland and Arizona opt for quarterbacks ahead of the Eagles' pick. Who will be there for the Eagles at No. 14? That's the question for tonight, because the Eagles will be ready with their list and their rankings with the options in front of them at 14.
The mission is to find a player who comes in and makes a difference. The Eagles think they'll have a shot at that kind of player at 14. The anticipation builds, as Round 1 nears.