What Is Eagles' Plan For First Round?
April 22, 2017 04:38 PM | Dave Spadaro

The NFL Draft is right in front of us, and as the Eagles dot the I's and cross the T's in their draft preparation, the question looms: What is the team going to do with the 14th-overall selection on Thursday night?

Anyone who says, "I know who the Eagles are going to take" isn't exactly realistic at this point. The Eagles may have narrowed down their wish list to two or three players, but with 13 picks in front of them, there are just too many variables to consider to have a defined feel. But after hearing what Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas had to say with reporters last week - and the truth is, neither gave up much at all about the Eagles' intentions - and just understanding the whole picture with the roster, there is at least a sense of what may go down.

Some thoughts ...

> It seems very unlikely that the Eagles are going to move up in the first round. The Eagles want to maximize their eight selections. If anything, they are probably more likely to move down in the first round - and in the rounds thereafter - to acquire more picks.

> Any "surprise" names going in the top 10? It always happens, doesn't it? Who makes the gigantic leap up in 2017? It could be Temple linebacker Haason Reddick. Maybe it's Stanford running back/receiver/do everything standout Christian McCaffrey. It's also possible that the teams in the top 10, or from 11 to 13, will reach early for a quarterback. Is it possible that Patrick Mahomes from Texas Tech sneaks into those first dozen picks? His profile is rising. Anything unexpected from picks one through 13, of course, impacts the Eagles.

> Both Roseman and Douglas said they've got a list of 14 players and they are excited about that list and the idea that one of those players would be an Eagle and help this football team. So, yeah, it sounds like the Eagles would be very pleased if they stay at 14.

> The conventional thinking is that the Eagles will, at the end of the weekend, have a draft that leans more significantly toward the defensive side of the ball. That is not necessarily going to be the case, said Roseman.

"I wouldn't say that is the way we look at it," Roseman said in a one-on-one interview after the general press time. "We don't know what is going to happen. We have to stay true to our board and not force our decisions. That's the plan going in to the draft."

> All of the plans that teams make don't necessarily mean that the draft will play out as expected. Roseman made a point to discuss last year's draft, in which the Eagles thought the depth at defensive tackle was a place to target late in the weekend. It didn't happen.

"Defensive tackle was a really strong part of last year's draft, and we went in and thought there would be guys in the fourth and fifth round that we'd really like," Roseman said. "By the time we came back and picked, we were basically cleaned out as well. But you don't know. There are years where positions that are deep, and you get into the fifth, sixth, seventh round, and you see guys that you really like. So it will be interesting to see what happens in some of those positions."

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So, while the draft experts are touting the depth of certain positions, like cornerback, in the draft, it doesn't mean there are going to be available candidates for the Eagles when it's their time to draft on Saturday, for example. You may not be able to get all that you want in the draft. That's the message.

> What would it take for the Eagles to move out of 14 into the latter part of the first round? Good question. One that teams and Roseman and Douglas and the Eagles have to consider during the days ahead as they are in conversations. The phones are going to be buzzing all week and right up until the time the Eagles are on the clock on Thursday night. If the Eagles get a deal they can't refuse, they won't refuse it. Picking up extra draft picks in what everyone says is a "deep" draft is beneficial. But until that offer comes along, nobody knows what it will take to move out of 14.

> Do the Eagles draft for need or do they take the "best player on the board" at 14? The truth is, they take the best player on the board who helps them. Now, if the Eagles have a player on their board who is head and shoulders above the rest of the field, and he's, say, a tight end, and the Eagles look at their depth chart and see that they feel really good about Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton - which they do - then the decision-making team has a hard choice to make. There are a lot of moving parts in this equation.

> So let's get down to it: Who are the Eagles taking at 14? The team probably has a narrowed-down list of three or four players, in order, that they think will be on the board at 14. That could change between now and Thursday. But given all of the mock drafts, and hearing what Roseman and Douglas had to say, the Eagles are going to take …. A wide receiver … A cornerback … A defensive end … A running back … A defensive tackle … A linebacker.

See? Nobody knows. It's impossible to know. There are likely three, four and maybe five players on the short list right now. Until the Eagles are on the clock, neither we nor they are really going to know who they are taking. The possibilities are nearly endless at 14.

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