By Connor Thomas
The NFL Draft is just a day away, and we still have no idea what the Philadelphia Eagles are doing at pick #12. We might have had an idea had the team stayed at their original draft position at #6, but after Howie Roseman made a deal with the Miami Dolphins to move back in the first round, the waters became very murky. What the Eagles will do with their 2021 first round pick even Roseman doesn’t know at the current time; a lot depends on the 11 picks that come before the birds are on the clock. But there are options that have come to the forefront through whispers and rumors, some more appealing than others. Without the crystal ball necessary to predict exactly who will be donning midnight green this coming season as the top draft selection for Philly, let’s at least narrow down the best case and worst case scenarios for what may happen tomorrow night.
The Best Case Scenario – Top Pass Catchers Go High, Eagles Draft DeVonta Smith
When the Eagles sat at #6, the two most coveted names by many fans were Ja’Marr Chase and Kyle Pitts. Chase, an incredibly polished WR out of LSU, and Pitts, a dominant and versatile tight end from Florida. There were already growing cults for each of these prospects among the Eagles faithful when Roseman shattered the collective dreams of those folks by moving well outside of the range of those top options. With a pass catcher as a top priority this seemed crazy at first glance, but it may end up playing into the best case scenario for the Eagles. There is a slight gap between those top two receivers/tight ends and the next man on the totem pole, DeVonta Smith out of Alabama. If Howie correctly guessed that Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase would both be off the board in the top 5 picks, it would seem silly to draft DeVonta Smith well above his projection, at #6. Some believe the Eagles are still manically searching for a #1 receiver, and that the 1st round pick was always going to be a pass catcher of some kind. If all the above rings true, and DeVonta Smith stays on the board until pick #12, Roseman effectively got a free extra 1st rounder next year to still get the same guy he would’ve desired at 6. Like most best case scenarios, a lot of things have to break the right way, but this is probably the most explainable, logical, and beneficial outcome for the Eagles as the first round shakes out tomorrow night.
The Worst Case Scenario – The Eagles Trade Back And Panic
While I just wrote about how smart the Eagles could end up looking for their trade back from 6 to 12, it’s important to remember that the further back in the draft they go, the less and less likely it is that Roseman knows what he’s doing. The Alabamas and LSUs of the college football world turn into the TCUs, the Northwesterns, the USCs. This is where the Eagles GM finds his Achilles Heel. Let’s say, for example, that the Patriots wanted to move up from #15 to #12 to get a sliding Mac Jones. Sure, the Eagles can probably get an extra 2nd round pick out of that move. But what happens when DeVonta Smith goes at 13. Rashawn Slater goes at 14. And the Eagles are sitting at #15 with the best man on their draft board possibly being Greg Newsome II from Northwestern. This would be an absolute nightmare. Assets are always beneficial; a certain former Sixers GM whose name rhymes with Ham Pinky taught us that. But there is a certain point where you have to realize that you as an organization have been terrible at drafting for a while now. Trading back is great in theory, but the picks you would receive in return have a lower success rate than you would have with your 1st round selection at 12. Imagine if you trade out of a generational talent that slips to #12 so you can select a player at 15 and another player in the 2nd round that neither of them pans out. That’s what we would call a worst case scenario.
So will tomorrow night be a homerun? Or a Phillies center field type at bat that ends in a huge strike out. Only time will tell, but at least we don’t have much time to wait. Here’s to hoping that when the first round ends, the Eagles will be closer to the best case scenario than the worst case.