April 27, 2018
The Super Bowl champions always pick last in the NFL Draft, and for the first time ever in 2018, that was scheduled to be the Philadelphia Eagles. But many Eagles fans were left disappointed late Thursday evening, after hours of sitting around and waiting for their team to make its selection gave way to news that general manager Howie Roseman had (somewhat expectedly) traded out of the first round.
To the victor go the spoils, I suppose.
That being said, a wasted Thursday night is a small price to pay for a Lombardi Trophy, especially given Roseman's reasoning behind making the deal with the Ravens, one that saw the Eagles pick up an additional pick in 2019, but none in 2018. The Birds send their first- and fourth-round picks (32nd and 132nd overall) to Baltimore for the Ravens' second- and fourth-round picks (52nd and 125th overall) in 2018 and their second-round pick in 2019.
The Eagles had plenty of other offers, especially once quarterback Lamar Jackson fell all the way to them at 32. But, according to Roseman, the key to this deal was being able to get an additional second-round pick, even if it means waiting a year.
"I think our balance was the short-term versus the long-term on the trade offers, and we decided that it's just too hard to get a second-round pick," Roseman said. "When we look at the draft, the difference in value when you're picking in the second round, versus even when you're picking in the third round, it's too good. It gives you a lot of flexibility. We're excited. Our draft room is really excited to be able to get this."
The Eagles should be excited about this, even if the rest of Philadelphia isn't. Not just because of the extra pick they acquired for next year, but because of how it compares to similar deals made over the last half decade.
Recently, after Roseman said the Birds were "open for business" when it came to trading back, our own Jimmy Kempski took a look at what other teams picking near the end of the first round where able to get when they opted to trade back. Here's a look at what he came up with...
• Green Bay traded their first-round selection (29th) to Cleveland in exchange for Cleveland's second- and fourth-round selections (33rd and 108th).
• Seattle traded a first-round selection (31st) to San Francisco in exchange for San Francisco's second- and fourth-round selections (34th and 111th).
• Seattle traded a second-round selection (34th) to Jacksonville in exchange for Jacksonville's second- and sixth-round selections (35th and 187th).
• Chicago traded their second- and seventh-round selections (36th and 221st) to Arizona in exchange for Arizona's second-, fourth-, and sixth-round selections (45th, 119th, and 197th) as well as a fourth-round selection in 2018.
• Kansas City traded its first-round selection (28th) and seventh-round selection (249th) to San Francisco in exchange for San Francisco's second-, fourth-, and sixth-round selections (37th, 105th, and 178th).
• Tennessee traded its second-round selection (33rd) to the Giants in exchange for New York's 2015 second-, fourth- and seventh-round selections (40th, 108th and 245th).
• Seattle traded its first-round selection (32nd) to Minnesota in exchange for Minnesota's second- and fourth-round selections (40th and 108th).
• Washington traded its second-round selection (34th) to Dallas in exchange for Dallas' second- and third-round selections (47th and 78th).
• New England traded their first-round selection (29th) to Minnesota in exchange for Minnesota's 2013 second-, third-, fourth-, and seventh-round selections (52nd, 83rd, 102nd, and 229th).
Because the Eagles are already so tight up against the salary cap with a Carson Wentz mega-contract extension looming in the semi-near future, the Eagles can use all the inexpensive players they can get. You obtain those guys in the draft, so this may be a reasonable year for the Birds to trade back and acquire some extra picks.
As you can see, the only team to move back anywhere close to the same number of spots as the Eagles was the Patriots in 2013. And while their return include more total picks than the Birds' haul, the value of the picks the Eagles got from Baltimore is likely going to be much higher given that second-round pick in 2019. Based on the NFL Draft pick value chart, the 83rd, 102nd and 229th picks are worth a combined total of about 268 points. Even if the Ravens win the Super Bowl next year, the lowest 2nd rounder they'd give to the Eagles (64th overall) would still be worth 270 points.
And guess what? The Ravens aren't winning the Super Bowl next year, so the value is likely to be even better.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have realistic expectations of making another run in 2018, and making a deal like this is hardly a sign that thinking has changed. If anything, it's a sign that they believe their window has just been opened, and being able to wait another year for that pick to materialize is a luxury the Birds now have.
"We still have a chance to go back to the Super Bowl," Roseman said. "So I think for us, we don't want to totally be short term. At the end of the day, a second-round pick is a second-round pick. So if someone's offering a third-round pick in this year and it's the middle of the third round, even if you're getting a second-round pick a year later, we're not necessarily just taking down the value because it's a year later."
"A second-round pick is still a second-round pick. We've just got to wait for it."
While the Eagles didn't really improve their draft stock for Days 2 and 3 of the 2018 Draft, they most certainly improved their standing for next year. And not only could the 2019 class be better suited to the Eagles' needs anyway, but Roseman still believes he'll have the chance to find an impact player on Friday night.
"Well, when you look ahead, it’s always hard to know exactly how it’s going to be," Roseman said. "People are going to come out, players change. When we looked ahead last year at this draft – and we talked about this on many occasions – a lot of variables change. But we thought the strengths of the draft next year were different than the strengths of this draft. And where this draft is strong, it continues to be strong until tomorrow. So, it gets us an opportunity to still get a good player, possibly, but more importantly, also continue to build.
"For us, we want to win this year, but we want to continue to win. We want to win in 2018; we want to win in 2019; in 2020. There are not many times that you get an opportunity to move back in a draft and pick up second-round picks, so for us, we thought it was the right value."
Oh, and for those wondering if not having a first-round pick will hurt the Birds this season, consider this: They have a rookie cornerback on their roster who was graded as a top-15 talent coming out of college. It was just last year's draft – and after he missed all but one meaningless game last season, there's nothing stopping Eagles fans from viewing Sidney Jones as their top pick this year.
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