Philadelphia Eagles NFL Draft 2013: Stay Put or Trade Down?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles own the 4th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Might that change come draft day?

The 2013 NFL Draft is only 28 days away. That seems short but at the same time feels like forever away. It's always a much anticipated and exciting time. It might be even more so this year given the addition of Chip Kelly.

The time leading up to the draft (post free agency) is full of mock drafts, workout visits, pro days, draft speculation, and more. This post will fall into the "speculation" category.

Some have wondered whether the Eagles should keep their 4th overall pick and stay put. Others have argued the pick should be used to move back later in the draft to acquire more picks. Here's a look at each argument in a nutshell:

Case for staying put:

First, under the new CBA, draft picks aren't too costly, and the Eagles have plenty of cap space anyway. Money isn't an issue.

More, the Eagles haven't selected within the top 5 since 1999 when they took the great Donovan McNabb. They can add virtually any player (except for the 3 taken before) that they want. Potentially they can add one of the best players from this draft class to their roster. That player could be an impact player on this roster for years to come. Trading down could mean the Eagles miss out on a stud player. Missing out on special talent could prove costly.

If the Eagles clearly feel there's a special player to be added at 4, it makes sense for them to stay put. They don't need to worry about trying to get more picks. Maybe the Eagles aren't even in need of extra picks. A number of players were just added in free agency. They don't have a lot of glaring holes on the roster. The freedom to choose the best player available is there.

Case for trading down:

What if there isn't a special talent available at 4? A popular idea from those that cover the draft seems to be that the 2013 NFL Draft lacks clear top talent players. There is a good talent to be had still, but the difference in talent between, say, the 4th pick and the 20th pick might be marginal. The Eagles might be better off trading down from 4 to acquire more picks. Why take one player who's an "A+" when you could, in theory, select two players who are "A"s or even "B+"s?

Obviously the compensation would be a big factor in this decision. What could the Eagles expect in return? That really depends on who's left on the board and how the team aiming to trade up values the player they're targeting. How low would the Eagles trade? Out of the first round entirely? There's the consideration that future picks are in play. Perhaps a 2014 first round pick could be acquired. That might prove useful should Chip Kelly aim to find his future franchise QB in next year's draft.

It's also no secret that Eagles GM Howie Roseman likes to move around and make trades in the draft.

Dilemma:

If the Eagles do indeed want to trade down from 4, they face a major dilemma. If the the Eagles are trading down from 4 it's likely because they don't feel there's a stud prospect to be had that high. It's then possible the Eagles could have trouble finding a trade partner. What if everyone else feels the same way as the Eagles do? If trading down is what the Eagles aim to do, they need to hope at least one other team covets a prospect that highly. If that's not the case, the option to trade down might not even be available them.

Just For Fun - Hypothetical:

One could go crazy fiddling around with possible draft day scenarios, but I'll provide one for the sake of this discussion. I saw this trade proposed in a mock draft from Draft Breakdown (which is a great site, by the way). The author (Jimmy O'Brien) has the Eagles trading down from 4 to acquire the Rams 16 and 22 overall picks. O'Brien has the Rams selecting Joeckel at 4 and then the Eagles grabbing Jonathan Cooper and Jonathan Cyprien (Jonathan & Jonathan!) at 16 and 22 respectively.

The way I see it, the Eagles get good value in that trade. They select two players who they feel have a greater value than if they selected one at 4. The problem is there's no guarantee they would even receive that high of a compensation.

Questions:

There's a few major questions to take away from these thoughts.

  1. Should the Eagles stay at 4 or trade down?
  2. If the Eagles stay at 4, who should they take? Is that prospect an impact player?
  3. If the Eagles trade down, where could they trade down to? And what realistic compensation?
  4. Would you accept the proposed Rams-Eagles hypothetical trade?

There's no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it makes for interesting discussion. What do you think?

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