The 2020 NFL Draft could be wild, with all the issues and hijinks of your work-related quarantine video chats (I don’t think Roger Goodell will want a virtual happy hour) and the added bonus of guys like Dave Gettleman and Mike Brown trying to figure out how to use a computer; Bill O’Brien having two tabs open: “how do I draft players” Google search and a weblink to the video chat because he doesn’t know to use the app; and the potential of seemingly random chime midway through the 2nd round when Les Snead logs in to actually get to make a pick.
But there’s still plenty of normalcy on the horizon. Players will be selected, and many trades will be made. And the Eagles will make some of them.
As I do every season, let’s preview what the Eagles can expect to pay or receive when they trade up or back in each round. Forget your draft pick value charts, this exercise is based on what teams actually do on draft day since the 2011 CBA changed rookie contracts.
1st Round - 21st
When Jerry Reese was the Giants GM, he never traded up. In 11 drafts, he traded up only four times, three of which were in the 4th round or later, the fourth was in the 2nd round. Teams wised up to his static philosophy and teams traded up to the pick prior to the Giants 1st round selection five times and to the pick before that three times. If you wanted a guy you thought Reese would take, you could always jump him. In 2012 it was widely believed that the Giants would take a running back. The Buccaneers traded up to the pick immediately before the Giants and took Doug Martin. The Giants did take a RB in David Wilson.
The Eagles are in a similar situation this year. Everyone knows that they will draft a WR. They have to come out of the 1st or 2nd round with one. So as much as they don’t want to, they may have to trade up, even if only a spot or two, to make sure they get who they want. In 2016 Houston traded up one spot with Washington to take Will Fuller, Washington then took Josh Doctson.
If the Eagles feel they need to move up a little to get their guy, it might not cost them a lot. The Fuller/Doctson trade cost a 6th rounder the next season. In 2018 the Titans packaged a 4th with the 25th overall pick to the Ravens for the 22nd and a 6th. With three 4th round picks the Eagles have the ammo to make either type of trade and then recoup a 6th rounder later on, there are always teams looking to sell 6th and 7th rounders.
Anything more than that would significantly increase the price. There’s only been one trade from the early to mid 20s to the mid-teens: in 2018 the Bills traded 22nd and a 3rd to the Ravens for 16th and a 5th (which yes, as shown earlier, the Ravens then traded).
There are two scenarios where the Eagles might find themselves either desiring or willing to trade back. The first is an ugly one where everyone they hope is on the board at 21 is gone, a repeat of the 2014 draft. The other, slightly more palpable one is that several players they want are there. In that scenario we can and will debate for years if they should move back, but it’ll be an option.
Historically, moving back in the early 20s to the mid 20s picks up a mid-to-late 3rd rounder, just like the Eagles did in 2014. If a team isn’t willing to move a 3rd, there’s precedent for a 4th and 6th.
2nd Round - 53rd
To move from the early 50s to the mid 40s has cost a 4th rounder, which the Eagles have three of. Moving up about 5 spots should cost one of the late 4ths, moving up 10 or so spots should cost the mid 4th. So in a scenario where all the top targets are off the board in the 1st round, there would be a logic behind moving back to add a 3rd and then giving up a 4th to move up in the 2nd. Is that the best option? I don’t know, but it’s an option. And again with three 4ths already in hand, if the Eagles don’t land a WR in the 1st, regardless of if they move back or not, they have the picks to move up in the 2nd.
Trading back in the 2nd is, in my view, the worst value. Teams moving back from the late 40s/early 50s have generally received late 4ths or mid 5ths. If you really want to add another pick in the 125-150 range (and at risk of sounding like a broken record, the Eagles already have three picks in that range), you can do so later in the draft. More on that later. Just stand pat and take a guy you have rated in the top 50.
3rd Round - 103rd
Trading up in the 3rd round has been scattershot. In 2011 the 90th and 191st pick were traded for the 85th, the next year the 91st and 164th were traded for the 86th. Virtually an entire round worth of difference for the same picks. In 2012 the 97th and a 2013 5th were traded for the 92nd, the next year the 93rd and a 7th were traded for the 88th. Back to back years of moving up 5 spots, two very different values given. More recently, in 2018 and 2019 teams moved from the early 100s to the early 90s for either a mid 6th or a pair of late 6ths.
Moving up at the cost of their 6th rounder would be a fair trade for the Eagles, there are always teams that will sell off 6th rounders, so recouping that pick later won’t be a problem. Anything more than that and they got price gouged.
Here is where you can get that 5th rounder you could have gotten in the 2nd if you really want it. In 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2019 a team moved back about 10 spots from the early 100s and added a 5th. Several others added an early 6th. That the trade back value is not that far off between the 2nd and 3rd rounds shows that it’s not worth it to move back in the 2nd. Trading back within the 100-125 range to add a pick in the 150-180 range is defensible, especially if you traded up earlier in the draft.
4th Round - 127, 145, 146
The Eagles not trading at least one of their three 4th rounders seems impossible. If having three picks in this round wasn’t enough, from 2011-2014 and 2016-2019, the Eagles have made three trades within the 4th round, and picked up a 4th in three others. Maybe they still walk out with three selections in the 4th, but I can’t see them being the ones they came with.
Teams drafting in the 120s have been able to move up about 10 spots for the cost of a 6th or early 7th, the Eagles currently only have the former.
Scheduled to have two picks in the 140s, there’s not much reason to trade back… unless they’ve given those up in earlier trades and want to get back to having 7 or 8 total selections. Teams trading back from the 120s have been able to move to the 140s for a late 6th or early 7th.
145th and 146th
If the Eagles trade one of 145 or 146, I would love to be a fly on the wall over the haggling of which of those two were in the deal. If 146 is dealt, the other team blinked, if 145 is dealt, the Eagles blinked.
This is the same territory as the trade back from 127… packaged with their 6th, the Eagles could move up about 20 spots.
Trading back 15-20 spots, which would put the Eagles into the top half of the 5th round, has brought back a 7th. In 9 years a team has traded out of the 140s 11 times—10 of those being pick 145 or later. There are always teams looking to sell 6th or 7th rounders, so if you’re a team like the Eagles with multiple 4th rounders, don’t be afraid to include 5th or 6ths in a trade up earlier in the draft.
5th Round - 168th
Unless the Eagles add a 7th earlier in the draft, they can’t move up without packaging their 6th and getting multiple picks in the late 6th and 7th round. And with three 4ths, they have no reason to do this.
Moving back in the 5th would get them either a pick at the end of the 5th and a late 7th, or a pick in the top half of the 6th round and a early to mid 7th. If you just want to trade back for the sake of adding another pick, you can do that in the 6th round and get pretty similar value.
6th Round - 190th
The Eagles could pick up a 7th rounder here, and there are several teams that enter the draft with multiple 7ths, to say nothing of teams that pick up an additional 7th during the draft. Generally these trades see the team moving back dropping about 20 spots, to the end of the 6th, for the gain of a mid to late 7th. Similar to the 1st round, depending on how the board shakes out, it makes some sense to punt for another lottery ticket to grab a guy you would have otherwise made a priority UDFA.
The Eagles enter the 2020 draft with 8 picks and several options to move around in both the 1st and 2nd rounds but still come out of the draft with 8 picks. Some of those options might be forced upon them by their current depth chart, but if they want they can still end up with a respectable quality of picks early, and a respectable quantity of picks overall.