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Pre-Draft Drama: To Trade Up, Or To Stay At 24

In Andy Reid's 11 drafts as the head coach of the Eagles, he has moved up or down five times, and has stayed put in six Aprils. Reid remained in the pre-draft slots in 1999 (Donovan McNabb), 2000 (Corey Simon), 2001 (Freddie Mitchell), 2002 (Lito Sheppard), 2005 (Mike Patterson) and in 2006 (Brodrick Bunkley). The batting average of success isn't bad at all when the Eagles have remained in their pre-draft slot.

It isn't too bad when the Eagles have moved, either. They have selected a Pro Bowl offensive lineman (Shawn Andrews) and a star-on-the-rise young receiver (Jeremy Maclin) by moving up, and they have picked their quarterback of the present and the future (Kevin Kolb, 2007) by moving out of the first round. In 2003, they moved up to draft defensive end Jerome McDougle, who never panned out. In 2008 they moved out of the first round and took defensive tackle Trevor Laws in round two, and he has yet to break through.

So the percentages, if they mean anything at all, are kind of all over the place. Every draft, to paraphrase a favored Reid-ism, is unique unto itself. What happened in the past, in other words, doesn't factor into what the Eagles intend to do in this 2010 NFL draft.

And if you believe all of the pre-draft hype, the Eagles are one of the teams looking to move way, way up in the draft. They currently own 10 draft picks, the first of which is at No. 24 overall, and as we have learned in the past, Reid's draft philosophy is impossible to figure. So, yes, I am here to confirm that the Eagles could very well move up in the first round on Thursday night. They have the extra draft picks to deal should they want to make that move and should they find a willing trade partner.

Of course, I'm here to confirm that the Eagles could stay put at 24, and that they could move out of 24 and back up in the first round, or even move out of the first round.

Anything can happen. The phones are busy at the NovaCare Complex. Reid and general manager Howie Roseman are fielding offers, be sure of that.

Really, the question the Eagles have to answer, as they ponder the opportunities, is this: Who is worth the price it will take to move up in the draft? While the Eagles have 10 picks, how much are they willing to part with to go up from 24th overall to 15th, or 12th, or even into the top 10? The points chart that the NFL uses changes every year, and it is considered a bible of sorts among league deal makers. To go from 24th to, say, 12th, the Eagles would have to swap first-round draft picks and give up a second-round draft pick.

And if there are other teams in the mix, how much higher would the price have to go to move up?

Is it, then, worth the cost to go up and get one player? Is that putting so many eggs into a single player's basket?

The Eagles are kicking around all kinds of scenarios. On one hand, they have 58 players on the roster and so they have 22 spots to fill between now and next week's post-draft mini-camp, so they certainly have plenty of wiggle room to use to bring in players. They can stretch these 10 picks into 12 or 13 by moving a couple of higher picks for multiple picks in the middle rounds.

On the other hand is the clear need on this football team -- on any football team -- to add impact-level players. And the Eagles have to trust their evaluations to such a degree that if they see a player they think they must have, they need to go get him and then make sure that he doesn't miss in this scheme for the next five or six seasons.

There is nothing more risky than drafting college players and projecting them into NFL standouts, unless you are a team that relies upon the inexact science of playing the high-stakes game of free agency. It just is so very, very difficult to make it work at the highest level of the game.

If a great success rate in a draft is to hit on 50 percent of the picks, does it make sense to trade opportunities away? Or do you feel more confident in the players that are rated as heads and shoulders above the others, rather than picking a straw out of the jar that looks and feels and has graded out about the same as all the other straws?

To move up, or to stay put? Everyone is reporting that the Eagles are looking to bump up in the first round. It is an intriguing thought. For who? For what? (sorry, Ricky Watters).

What is truth and what is fiction in the world of pre-draft reporting is an entirely different story right now, but the smoke is out there: The word on the streets is that the Eagles want to move. They are going to explore every option in every round, so it is not a surprise that the Eagles would be mentioned as one of the teams looking to move and shake starting Thursday.

Reid has done it before, with varying degrees of success. Will the Eagles move up again? As we near 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Eagles are clearly a team to watch.

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