In a move that will probably be regarded as one of the best in recent Eagles history, Howie Roseman somehow managed to send Byron Maxwell and his awful contract, Kiko Alonso, and the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft in exchange for the 8th overall pick. In a first round that is stacked at pretty much every position except QB and receiver, having the 8th overall pick gives the Eagles a ton of versatility to draft in anyway they want. So what might they do? Let’s look at all the options the Eagles have with the 8th pick.
Keep the pick and draft a player: It is quite possible that the Eagles are targeting a specific player they felt wouldn’t be available at 13. Which player that might be is a mystery to everyone, but some possibilities include Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, or an offensive tackle, either hoping that Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley falls or not wanting to risk Michigan State’s Jack Conklin being taken earlier then expected. Frankly, all of these picks would be a good one, and the great thing about having a top 10 pick is that a team can draft the best player available (the best draft strategy) and still have that player fill a need. All those players (except for maybe Conklin) would meet both criteria of taking the best player available and would be filling a need. That being said, I don’t think taking Elliot or Conklin at eight would be the Eagles best draft option here, but I wouldn’t be upset with the Eagles taking either of them.
Trade up: It’s also possible the Eagles are looking to jump into the top five. Considering the idea that Cleveland will most likely take a QB with the second overall pick, even moving to the 5th overall pick would all but guarantee the Eagles one of the following players: Jalen Ramsey, Joey Bosa, Myles Jack, or Laremy Tunsil. Yes, please. Moving from 13th overall to 8th overall gives the Eagles a much better chance of getting into the top five, should that be their final plan. The Eagles would have to give up a lot to move up here, potentially including future first or second round picks, and players (Jason Peters or Connor Barwin?). Either way, the Eagle have to be careful they don’t give up too much (like the 2012 Washington Redskins). However, having a top five pick would give the Eagles the opportunity to draft a franchise player they may not get at eight.
Trade back: It’s also very possible that the Eagles will trade back down, and the primary driving force behind the Dolphins trade was simply getting rid of Maxwell and his awful contract. But offering up the 8th overall pick would also be good bait to trade back and then receive first and second round picks in return. For example, if a team like the Rams or the Lions decide they want to move into the top ten, the Eagles could trade back and receive both a second round pick this year, and another first round pick next year. I’d be just as happy with this choice, as having more draft picks, especially in the first and second rounds, would be very, very helpful. With whatever pick the Eagles trade back for, they could still take one of several good prospects. Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair could be a good selection, or if that Eagles opt to draft defensively, Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple would be a good selection.
What it comes down to is how the Eagles see the team this year. If they believe that they can compete with the team they have now, they either need to pick at 8 or move up. However, if the Eagles feel that Sam Bradford/Chase Daniel isn’t the long term answer at QB, then moving back and having several first or second round picks next year would benefit them greatly as they try to build a team. Either way, expect the Eagles to land a talented player, and one who fill benefit the team.