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Things I Think About Draft Weekend

There is only so much we can absorb in this massive media play that is the NFL draft. The amount of information, smoke screens and general tossing-it-against-the-wall reports is overwhelming. Thankfully, Thursday is almost here.

I've got some tidbits to think about as the week begins and the excitement level peaks when the first round begins on Thursday night ...

  • Never can I remember having so much unpredictability at the top of Round 1. There have been years when the clarity wasn't quite there, but this year seems to be a total question mark, from the very start. I still say the Texans select defensive end Jadeveon Clowney first and offensive tackle Greg Robinson (or tackle Jake Matthews) goes second to the Rams. But that's a guess. Nothing is defined in this draft.
  • It wasn't too long ago -- oh, about the time the Eagles were 3-5 in 2013 and fans and some in the media suggested the team would be better off losing big the rest of the season to line themselves up for a higher draft pick and a better shot at a "franchise" quarterback. Things certainly have changed, haven't they? Nick Foles went on to have a fantastic 2013 to help take the Eagles to the playoffs and this ballyhooed quarterback draft class has had its profile dip dramatically. Is there a "franchise" quarterback in the group? How many quarterback-needy teams are going to pass on quarterbacks until later in the draft? Why is it my sense that many teams believe the better long-term prospects at the position -- take, for example, LSU's Zach Mettenberger -- will be drafted in rounds two or even three?
  • Former Eagles wide receiver Mike Quick will represent Philadelphia and make the public announcement of the second-round draft pick at Radio City Music Hall, part of the NFL's alumni player program. Quick, the team's radio analyst, earned five Pro Bowls in his nine-year Eagles career and would have been a strong Hall of Fame candidate had leg injuries not shortened his career.
  • Since Howie Roseman took over as general manager in 2010, the team has made 13 trades during draft weekends, including seven in the opening three rounds. He is not averse to making a deal "if the price is right," Roseman said last week. It would be very difficult for the Eagles to move up significantly in the first round this year unless they want to part with future picks. The Eagles have six selections this season and may not have enough to move up into the top 10 or 12 picks from 22.
  • With the depth of talent in this draft, will there be higher grades on some post-draft players than in the past? "I don't know because our board is going to be different than everyone else," said Roseman. "We're spending a lot more time as we discuss looking at those guys and setting it, it's a really hectic process after the draft. You finish the last pick and all of a sudden these guys have to make life decisions. They've got 30 guys calling them. They're supposed to try and look at depth charts. If you don't get that guy, you're worried you're not going to get the next guy so all of a sudden you commit to a guy; the guy calls you back and says, 'I'm ready to go,' you've already committed to another guy at the position. You only have $75,000 to sign, so it's hectic."
  • Let's see how it works in the long run: The Eagles acquired running back Darren Sproles from New Orleans for the 169th pick (fifth round) in this draft. Sproles is expected to make an immediate contribution this season, so it's probably fair to judge this deal three or four years down the line to have a complete picture. The Eagles, it's safe to say, are thrilled to have Sproles on the roster as a running back, receiver and return man.
  • With that said, let's look back at a deal the Eagles made prior to the 2012 draft. They traded a third-round draft pick (which became guard Brandon Brooks) and a fourth-round pick (center Ben Jones) to Houston and acquired linebacker DeMeco Ryans and a third-round draft pick in the 2012 draft. That draft pick turned out to be Nick Foles. So, from an Eagles standpoint, the trade was outstanding. How about for Houston? Well, the team went downhill in 2013, for sure. Brooks started 15 games at guard for the Texans last year and has been called one of the team's most improved players and Jones started one after starting 10 in his rookie season. The Eagles made out very well in the deal.
  • Here is a scenario to consider: A prime quarterback is still on the board at No. 22. The Eagles suddenly have some valuable real estate on their hands. This would be an opportunity to trade out of 22, move back in the first round and add another draft pick or two. If not a quarterback, which player would have that kind of value at 22?
  • Meanwhile, the offseason conditioning program continues at the NovaCare Complex with 100 percent attendance at the voluntary workouts. Having the draft two weeks later than it has been in the past really serves no purpose. The draft picks and players signed after the draft are going to be two weeks behind the rest of the roster preparing for training camp.
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