Eagles Take The Plunge, Trade for No. 2 Pick
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — In a stunning move, the Philadelphia Eagles sent a boatload of draft picks to the Cleveland Browns Wednesday for the second-overall pick in this month's draft.
The deal signals two things, that the Los Angeles Rams will indeed choose Cal quarterback Jared Goff with the top overall pick and that the Eagles will now be in position to select North Dakota State signal caller Carson Wentz with the second slot.
In return for the pick the Eagles are sending the rebuilding Browns five selections over the next two years, including three this year, the team's first-rounder (No. 8 overall), the better of the their third-round selections (No. 77 overall), and a fourth-round pick. Cleveland will also get the Eagles' 2017 first-round pick and the Eagles' 2018 second-rounder.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, will also get a conditional fourth-round pick from the Browns in the 2017 draft.
"By making the initial trade with Miami earlier this offseason and with this trade today with Cleveland, we feel that we have put ourselves in the best possible position to draft an impact player," said Eagles' executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman. "We will now focus our energy on the next step."
That's a stark contrast to what Roseman believed just over a year go when he spoke at the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference before the '15 draft when Marcus Mariota was on everyone's mind despite the fact the Eagles were sitting at No. 20 overall.
“The history of trading up for one player, when you look at those trades, isn’t good for the team trading up and putting a lot of resources into it," Roseman said at the time.
The belief now from the organization's standpoint is that you cannot win consistently in this league unless you have the answer at the quarterback position, a fact magnified that the Eagles' sustained period of success under Andy Reid coincided with Donovan McNabb under center.
This plan had been in the works for months as the Eagles not only brought in Doug Pederson as head coach but also former quarterbacks Frank Reich (as offensive coordinator) and John DeFilippo (as QBs coach) in an effort to get bright minds who know the position in order to evaluate the talent in this year's class.
The club also did its due diligence, meeting with every big name QB in the process.
Two NFL sources have confirmed to 973espn.com that Pederson believes Wentz is the real deal and a future star at the position, something he magnified at his pre-draft availability Monday.
“These guys (Goff and Wentz) are pretty even, in my opinion,” Pederson assessed. “From all the physical tools, both of them are extremely gifted there – good arm strength, good mobility. Obviously, Carson is a little bigger, maybe a little better athlete right now. There’s not much separating those two.
“(Wentz has) got everything you want in a quarterback at this level,” the coach continued. “You never know. Quarterback is a unique position at the National Football League level. Guys come in here and there’s an expectation level that they have, there’s an expectation level that we have as a coaching staff. I like him, I like his arm strength, his mobility, he’s a bigger kid. I think he’s got all the tools to be an NFL quarterback.”
Roseman confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Sam Bradford will remain the starter for the '16 season, meaning the incoming rookie, presumably Wentz, will be spending his inaugural season under the learning tree.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen