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March 25, 2016

Eagles draft day options: To trade up, trade back or stay put

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032516FletcherCox Gregory Payan/AP

The Eagles traded up in 2012 to select the best player on their team, Fletcher Cox.

Heading into any draft, there are always arguments to be made about trying to trade up for a better prospect, trading back and acquiring more draft picks, or just staying put at your spot and picking a player.

In the past, the Eagles tend to move around in the first round more than most. A recap of the last 15 years:

 YearPlayer drafted Traded up, traded back, or stayed put 
 2015Nelson Agholor Stayed put 
 2014Marcus Smith Traded back 
 2013Lane Johnson Stayed put 
 2012Fletcher Cox Traded up 
 2011Danny Watkins Stayed put 
 2010Brandon Graham Traded up 
 2009Jeremy Maclin Traded up 
 2008(Nobody in first round) - Trevor Laws first pick in 2nd round Traded back 
 2007(Nobody in first round) - Kevin Kolb first pick in 2nd roundTraded back 
 2006Brodrick Bunkley Stayed put 
 2005Mike Patterson Stayed put 
 2004Shawn Andrews Traded up 
 2003Jerome McDougle Traded up 
 2002Lito Sheppard Stayed put 
 2001Freddie Mitchell Stayed put 
 2000Corey Simon Stayed put 
 1999Donovan McNabb Stayed put 

The tale of the tape:

• Stayed put (9 times): Donovan McNabb, Corey Simon, Freddie Mitchell, Lito Sheppard, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Danny Watkins, Lane Johnson, and Nelson Agholor.

• Traded up (5 times): Jerome McDougle, Shawn Andrews, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox.

• Traded back (3 times): Kevin Kolb, Trevor Laws, and Marcus Smith.

On the surface, the "trade up" group was by far the best. Cox is a dominant player, Graham has developed into a solid starter, Maclin is a middle-of-the-road "No. 1 receiver," and Andrews was an absolute force at RG before his career unraveled. The only real bust there was McDougle.

The worst group, simply as listed above, is the "traded back" group, which is comprised of Kolb, Laws, and Smith. Of course, by trading back, the Eagles acquired more picks in those scenarios. The full haul from each of those trade-backs:

• 2007: The Eagles selected Kolb, Stewart Bradley, and C.J. Gaddis with the picks acquired from Dallas in that trade.

2008: This trade netted Laws, Mike McGlynn, Quintin Demps, and Carolina's first round pick in 2009, which the Eagles then traded along with a fourth round pick and a sixth round pick for Jason Peters. I'd say that trade worked out.

2014: By moving back four spots and selecting Smith, who is already a bust, the Eagles also drafted Jaylen Watkins and Taylor Hart. Yuck.

And then of course, the "stay put" scenario is very straightforward.

In 2016, it seems far more likely the Eagles will trade up than trade back. After the Eagles moved up from 13 to 8 in a trade with Miami, Eagles quasi-GM Howie Roseman made it clear that the Eagles saw a dropoff in talent after the top 10 players.

"They way we looked at it, we felt like there were 10 players that really stood out to us," said Roseman. "Picking 13th, we felt like if we were in a position to get one of those top 10 guys, there was tremendous value in that. To be able to do it before draft day and spend more time vetting all those guys would really help us. So doing it before the draft, before draft day, as we've seen here over the last four years that it's not always easy to move up on draft day. So being able to get that and have it in our pocket as we got started here would help us in our direction of our offseason."

Recently, the Eagles have been rumored to be interested in trading up for North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.

Lance Zierlein of reported that an NFC executive thought the Eagles could be candidates to trade up to pick No.2.

"Don't be surprised if a team like the Eagles makes a really strong move up the board to get (Carson) Wentz. I don't think he's worth it, but I think they do. Everyone thinks you have to move ahead of Cleveland, but (Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta) will want to get as many picks as possible out of this draft. It wouldn't surprise me if a team moved directly to Cleveland's spot for Wentz." -- NFC executive

And then yesterday, Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated named the Eagles among four teams who could be interested in trading up to the No. 1-overall pick.

"At the moment, there are four teams in play to trade up to the No. 1 spot: Cleveland (as insurance against losing their preference of Goff or Wentz), San Francisco (No. 7), Philadelphia (No. 13) and Los Angeles (No. 15). And I don’t believe it will take the “king’s ransom” Titans GM Jon Robinson says a team will have to give up to move to No. 1. (Robinson later clarified his remarks, saying he did not want to give the impression the Titans were unwilling to move down). My hunch is that the deal will land somewhere south of the legitimate king’s ransom Washington paid for the right to draft Robert Griffin III—basically, three first-rounders and a second-round pick."

This is, of course, the time of year that NFL front offices like to play little head games, but the Eagles certainly feel far more likely to trade up than down, if at all.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski