April 30, 2021
Eagles fans are rejoicing on Friday after Howie Roseman swung a trade with the rival Dallas Cowboys to move up in last night's NFL Draft from the 12th overall pick to the 10th pick, where they selected Alabama wide receiver and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.
The New York Giants, who held the 11th pick, quickly traded back with the Chicago Bears to the 20th pick and selected Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney.
It seems pretty clear that if the Eagles had stood pat at 12, the Giants would have selected Smith at 11. The Giants picked up an extra first round pick next year, which deserves praise given the situation, but the Eagles also managed to do the same thing and get Smith by trading their original sixth overall pick to move back to 12 before the draft started.
Just to recap, they got that sixth overall pick by losing the final game of last season to the Washington Football Team in a pretty blatant tanking effort. That cost the 6-10 Giants a trip to the playoffs, which their players, coaches and fans loudly whined about (with the exception of safety and South Jersey native Logan Ryan) — as if any NFC East team was really deserving of a division crown in 2020.
Even if Giants fans argue that's not the point, it was pure melodramatic outrage over an awful team losing an ugly game. The Giants should have been more upset about the NFL flexing that game to Sunday night to be played under those terms in the first place.
Having said all of that, it's still easy to see why the Giants and their fans would be sick of the Eagles getting in their way and foiling their plans. Fans don't hold one monolithic viewpoint, but in the moment of last night's activity around the 10th pick, you could boil down being a Giants fan to this video.
"Wait a minute, the Eagles are on the clock!" the fan says, interrupted as he talks about the Giants targeting Smith. "The f*** are they doing?! The f*** has happened? Why did the Cowboys and Eagles just trade? Oh, f***ing God. They're gonna get Smith."
As CrossingBroad's Kevin Kinkead pointed out Friday, this video is funny on multiple levels. The guy in the video goes by "Copizzle" and has a YouTube channel where he talks about the Giants. The angry southern accent just adds to the Joe-Exotic-of-Giants-fans vibe here.
The beauty of what Howie Roseman pulled off on Thursday night is something to appreciate on its own terms. You may even want to impulse buy a DeVonta Smith bobblehead to preserve the moment.
There is no way of knowing how all of this will turn out, although there's good reason to believe Smith is going to be a difference-maker for Philadelphia. Predicting the long-range outcome of NFL draft picks is a fun but ultimately futile exercise, especially if the evaluation is made in comparative terms.
The arc of Carson Wentz's five seasons in Philadelphia and Jared Goff's five seasons in L.A. offers a perfect example. There were points at which it would be fair to say both were great picks, but they're now both on different teams.
Grading an NFL Draft at first blush is sometimes more about seeing who wins the chess game to pick the guys they want than it is about the unknown of how it will all fit together on the field. Even if the Giants and their fans are pleased with the outcome, the entertainment of last night is what rivalries are all about.