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April 02, 2023

Mailbag: Might the Eagles make an A.J. Brown-like trade with one of their first-round picks?

Eagles NFL
040223AJBrown Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles had money to spend when they traded for A.J. Brown.

On Friday, we solicited questions for an Eagles mailbag via Twitter. Thank you as always for doing half the work for me. This will be Part II of a two-part mailbag. Part I here.

Question from @BrandonJRamsay: Hypothetically, if the Eagles trade one of their first round picks for a player in the draft like A.J. Brown last year, who would that player be?

I don't think that's a realistic possibility this year. The Eagles would very likely have to pay anyone they trade for, like they did immediately with Brown after that trade a year ago. With a Jalen Hurts extension on the horizon and almost no flexibility left to restructure veteran contracts, we already know that the Eagles' cap capabilities are stretched to the limit.

Additionally, the Eagles only have six draft picks. While they only made five selections last year, they entered that draft with 10 picks, and thus had more flexibility to wheel and deal for Brown and Jordan Davis. They are not in that position this year.

They could in theory dip into their robust stash of picks in 2024 to help make a splash trade, but that would be unwise, as the NFL places a much lower value on future picks than picks in the current year, which is a market inefficiency that Howie Roseman has exploited for years. 

Question from @WalkWithLyle: If the Eagles did the unthinkable and drafted Bijan Robinson at 10, how bad of a pick would you say it is?

Back in 2016, after the Eagles traded up from 13 to 8 — but before they traded up from 8 to 2 — Ezekiel Elliott was thought of as a potential Philly target. At the time, I laid out why selecting him at 8 would be a bad use of resources. In my opinion, Robinson is not as good a prospect as Elliott was in 2016.

Seven years and a bunch of horrific second contracts for running backs later, there's even more reason not to take a running back with a high first-round pick. It would be a pretty awful use of resources, and there's almost no way hell the Eagles will take Robinson at 10.

Question from @flatsandwich: With the Eagles' lack of wide receiver depth, do you think that’s something they may address within the first three rounds of the draft since they haven’t acquired anyone in free agency?

For the first time in a long time, this is not a strong wide receiver draft. As such, it's not super likely that a receiver will be the best player available when the Eagles are picking in the first few rounds.

That said, while it is not a good wide receiver class overall, there are a lot of smaller slot receiver types, which is what the Eagles need. It would not be a surprise if the Eagles took a receiver in the first three rounds, but I don't see them reaching for one.

Question from @Eagles_Insights: Who is your favorite prospect for the Eagles that you haven’t seen anyone talk about yet?

Jordan Addison, WR, USC/Pitt. He reminds me in some ways of DeVonta Smith, in that he's a skinny route runner extraordinaire with good hands, production, and sneaky run after catch ability who can make plays at all three levels of the defense.

He also has inside-outside versatility, meaning that he can play a role in the slot as long as Brown and Smith stay healthy, or outside if one of them goes down.

Would I take Addison at 10? No. But he'd make a lot of sense if the Eagles traded back into the teens. I haven't taken a super hard look at wide receivers in this draft, because, well, the Eagles have Brown and Smith, but in the limited looks I've gotten, I think I like Addison more than Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a player who has gotten some attention from Eagles fans.

Question from @Miguelg006: Nolan Smith at 10 or do you think that’s too early for him?

I had him in my Eagles-only mock draft 3.0, so yes! Perfectly cromulent option at 10.

Question from DFWsportsfan: Hey Cowboys fan here so not Eagles specific but random question for you: Will we ever have another Hall of Fame running back? Not sure if Zeke or Derrick Henry would get in and in this era when guys fall off a cliff at 26, I don’t know if we will ever have another RB make the Hall.

Adrian Peterson will get in, and Frank Gore has a chance to get in as well. They won't be the last running backs to ever get in. But your point is well taken. Among the active NFL backs, it's hard to see anyone who has a Hall of Fame résumé. Henry probably has the best case if he can have another three or so great seasons, and I'm not so sure he will.

Not only are running backs undervalued these days, but there also aren't any truly great ones in the game right now. 

Question from @Spice_20: Can you make trades with conditions around future (yet to be awarded) compensatory picks? For example, the Eagles give up a 4th round pick or third round comp pick if they have one. As I write this I don't know why you would do it, but can you?

Recently, yes, you could. I don't know if anything has changed — and I'm not wasting an inquiry on a league source on that one to find out for sure — but if I happen to confirm one way or the other at some point, I promise I'll update with a more definitive answer.

Question from @delaware_mung: Favorite TV show theme song?

Diff'rent Strokes is the 🐐. 

Todd Bridges (Willis from Diff'rent Strokes) is an Eagles fan, by the way.

Among theme songs with no lyrics, Game of Thrones and What's Happening are two faves.

Question from @tech_44: Did you pet the llama?

I was more into the baby goats.

But yeah, I also pet the llamas.

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