The Eagles made a big trade so they can move up to the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft and they have said that they will draft a quarterback. It was a really big trade! They're giving up five draft picks, including two first-rounders and a second-rounder, for a fourth-rounder and the right to move up six picks in this year's draft.
It's a confusing move for the same reasons last week's Rams blockbuster to land the No. 1 pick was a confusing move. Giving up a ton of picks to draft a quarterback is always risky, since it's really tough to accurately gauge the NFL success of quarterbacks. You're better off taking a lot of picks and hoping several pan out than putting all your draft eggs in one basket. Both the Rams and Eagles didn't seem to care.
But the Eagles' situation makes it even more confusing. After all, the Rams gave up a ton for the No. 1 pick, and the Eagles just gave up slightly less than a ton for the No. 2 pick. Not only are they going all in, they're going all in on the guy another NFL team is turning down.
There's a possibility the Eagles could've gotten one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft with their own pick, which, as we mentioned earlier, was just six spots below the one they have now. And even if they didn't, it's quite possible the third-best quarterback in the draft will be roughly as good as the second-best. Is that modestly better chance of securing a possibly better QB worth giving up a ton of high picks?
And unlike the Rams, the Eagles just signed Sam Bradford to a surprisingly large contract, $26 million guaranteed over two seasons. And now they're selling out for another QB.
What is Philadelphia thinking? GM Howie Roseman tried to explain, although I'm left equally confused.
Howie Roseman: Let me be clear, Sam Bradford is our starting quarterback. The #Eagles will not trade Bradford— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 20, 2016
Part of me wants to applaud this. The general consensus amongst draft experts is that neither Goff nor Wentz is ready to play right away. Starting Bradford in 2016 keeps this year's draftee out of the spotlight and lets him develop.
But it worries me in other ways. For starters, if Bradford is merely here to start while the Eagles develop their QB of the future, why'd they just give him so much money? Couldn't they have gotten a stopgap to hold down the fort for a lot cheaper than $26 million guaranteed? Brian Hoyer's still available!
And if the quarterback drafted now is for the future and not expected to contribute now, why make a move that has the potential to kneecap the team in future drafts? Isn't that mortgaging the future for the sake of ... the future?
It seems most likely that the Eagles changed their minds about their quarterback situation relatively recently. Their short-sightedness in that regard makes me question their ability to be certain on a move that will necessarily affect their team for years to come.
Roseman said looking at future QB classes factored into making this trade. Also cited fact #Eagles rarely in top 10. Last time, no QB there— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 20, 2016
Roseman is admitting he's intentionally overvaluing prospects in this year's draft based on players in future drafts. This seems like flawed logic.
Quarterback value fluctuates wildly, as each individual player develops along his own unique career arc. It is possible for a quarterback to look like a potential star for years and then not pan out, and it is possible for a quarterback to emerge in the year before the NFL Draft and become a star.
Cam Newton went from a Florida backup to a juco star to Auburn's starter to a Heisman winner to a No. 1 NFL pick in two seasons. That's an extreme example, but it's possible for consensus opinions of quarterback prospects to rise and fall very quickly. Just look at mock drafts from last year, which considered Christian Hackenberg the best QB in this year's class, often Connor Cook next, and maybe didn't even mention Carson Wentz.
It's hard enough for teams to determine which college quarterbacks will be good when we get to look at the entirety of their college careers, plus their combines and pro days and draft interviews. Hell, it's hard enough to determine which NFL quarterbacks will be good well into their NFL careers. Look at Bradford: He was the No. 1 pick six freakin' drafts ago, and there are still wildly differing opinions of how valuable he can be to an NFL team.
If our fully formed opinions of NFL Draft prospects are flawed, why the hell would you bet the house on your incomplete analyses of college freshmen and sophomores?
Roseman: Doesn't know who the Rams will select first. We know who we're going to get at No. 2.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) April 20, 2016
Roseman claims complete certainty that he knows who his team will select, while claiming complete uncertainty over who the team ahead of him will pick. This ... isn't ... possible, right?
If Roseman has no idea who the Rams will pick, by definition, he does not know who will be available at No. 2 to select. Right? Is he hinting that he's drafting somebody off the Rams' radar? But if he doesn't know who the Rams will pick, how can he know that he's off that person's radar? Am I supposed to read this metaphorically? I feel like Roseman is the sphinx and if I don't answer his riddle correctly I get dumped in the Schuylkill.
Roseman: The only way to make this trade is to be comfortable with both of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 20, 2016
WAIT. Didn't you just say you were certain about which player you were going to get? Why do you now care about the other one?
Roseman on if the #Eagles preferred Goff or Wentz: "It's like vanilla or chocolate."— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) April 20, 2016
First of all: Chocolate.
But again, I'm not quite sure I follow the logic. Roseman was just very clear that he KNEW who the Eagles planned on taking with the No. 2 pick. Now he's making it seem like both options are delicious.
Let's say, in this example, the Eagles do prefer vanilla -- how does he know the Rams don't prefer vanilla too? Isn't it possible the Eagles are setting themselves up to end up stuck with a lifetime supply of chocolate, even though it's their second-favorite flavor?
The Eagles can't get their stories straight. They're saying they know exactly which quarterback they'd like to draft while saying it doesn't matter which quarterback they get to draft.
They've had some trouble getting their stories straight for a while now: In the past two years, they've rallied behind Nick Foles, traded Foles for Sam Bradford, ousted the guy considered responsible for trading for Bradford, re-upped Bradford with a bigger contract than anybody expected, and now invested a large portion of the franchise's future in a quarterback to replace Bradford while Bradford is still under contract.
If Philadelphia's front office is sure of what they are doing, this move could be justifiable. But they haven't given us much evidence to make it seem like they're sure of what they're doing.