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NFL Draft 2016: Did Eagles trade up in the first round to get in position for a quarterback?

The Eagles still might draft a passer early on.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There's been a lot of speculation this offseason that the Eagles might select a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson hinted the possibility. There's also a report out there that the Birds want to draft a passer within the first three rounds. The Eagles don't currently own a pick in the second round, so unless there's a trade that means it's either the first or third round for them.

Maybe the third round is the right spot for Philadelphia. This quarterback class isn't thought to be super strong and the Eagles have two selections in that round. The team has already been connected to a day two prospect. Dak Prescott is reportedly scheduled to meet with Philadelphia for a pre-draft visit.

But maybe a first round quarterback is still in play. Yes, even despite re-signing Sam Bradford and bringing in Chase Daniel, it's not crazy to think the Birds could add a passer in the draft. An interesting note here from Pete Prisco:

With the Eagles and Dolphins finalizing the deal to send Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to Miami in exchange for the Eagles moving up five spots in the first round. Why move up for the Eagles? The talk at the combine was they want to get into a position to draft one of the three top quarterbacks in this year's draft, even after re-signing Sam Bradford. It makes sense since Bradford is on a two-year deal. Even with Daniel signed as a free agent, they need to find their long-term answer at quarterback. The Eagles might also be able to package more picks to move up even higher, if they truly have their eyes on a specific passer.

It is interesting how the Eagles seemingly targeted a move up in the 2016 NFL Draft. Is there a specific player that they have their eyes on? Or did they just feel like the quality of prospects dramatically falls off by the 13th pick?

If the Eagles are targeting a quarterback in this draft, there's no still no guarantee their guy will get to No. 8. They might need to trade up even higher. The good news for them is that they have ammo to do that since they own 9 picks in total. Another interesting wrinkle depends on how the quarterback carousel plays out. If the Browns land Colin Kaepernick, who they reportedly have interest in, they could take themselves out of the running for a quarterback at No. 2. The 49ers are the other team poised to take a quarterback early on at No. 7, however, especially if they move on from Kaepernick. Does Chip Kelly like any of these rookies quarterbacks that much? Something else to consider is that the Rams have ammo to trade up from No. 15. Maybe the Eagles felt pressured to get closer to the top to hold off a trade up attempt by Los Angeles.

The reason why we're having this discussion about quarterbacks in the draft is because the Eagles still don't have a sure-fire franchise quarterback on their roster. Bradford has dealt with inconsistency and injuries in his career. He's also essentially on a one-year contract. Daniel has been a career backup, though the team thinks he has *some* kind of starting potential based on his $36 million max value contract. Drafting a passer and grooming him would give the Eagles a potential long-term answer at the most important position in the game. Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Paxton Lynch are discussed as the big three quarterbacks from this class. Could one of them be the answer?

At the same time, the Eagles don't want to be the team that forces a pick on a quarterback and misses out on an elite player at a different position.

The Birds have to be smart about how they play this one. Finding a franchise quaterback is absolutely imperative and it's something the Eagles haven't done since the days of Donovan McNabb. At the very least, the Eagles jumping to No. 8 puts gives them more options this year. It remains to be seen if taking a quarterback is one of their choices.

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