【N.J】 Eagles would benefit by trading down in NFL Draft – – – New Jersey News

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The Eagles’ moves in the first week of the new NFL year clearly indicate they don’t expect a franchise cornerback to be available when they’re on the board with the 10th pick in the NFL draft.

Otherwise, there is no way they would bring back both Darius Slay and James Bradberry, giving them the most experienced, if not the fleetest cornerback combo in the NFC. They also added once promising prospect Greedy Williams of LSU, who with his 25-year-old legs could blow by both of those guys in a 40-yard dash.

Additionally, the Eagles understand the top defensive tackles will be gone by No. 10 (very thin class, so to speak), so they signed Fletcher Cox to a one-year contract.

So, what do the Eagles do?

With those serious areas of need depleted, they should trade back in the draft and pick up value later in the first round at edge rusher, and of course with picks.

Edge rusher isn’t going to excite fans who point to Haason Reddick and the career season he had with 16 sacks in the regular season and 3.5 in the playoffs. None of those quarterback drops were in the playoffs. But the Eagles would make their draft by securing the services of end Nolan Smith (6-2, 238), a bigger, faster, and stronger version of Reddick, according to a draft insider.

Smith clocked 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the combine and at Georgia was every bit as disruptive as Reddick was with the Eagles.

Trust me, some of the Eagles veterans can learn from Smith’s borderline brilliant bull rush, which is technically sound, aesthetically pleasing and NFL ready. He is all the way back from the torn pectoral muscle that cut short his last season with the Dawgs.

Also appealing in a trade back are Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancy (6-0, 280), the ACC defensive player of the year, defensive end/tackle Myles Murphy (6-5, 275) of Clemson and one of a deep class of corners, my preference being Joey Porter of Penn State. If the Eagles trade far back in the first round and want to roll with a nickel corner, Clark Phillips III (5-9, 184) of Utah is a certified playmaker.

Whoever comes off the board first for the Eagles isn’t going to be selected before the 11th pick even with all the quarterbacks coming off the board in the top 15.

Murphy is falling on draft boards partly because of his indifference to draft testing. He measured 6-foot-5 and weighed in a shade under 260 at the combine but wouldn’t run the 40-yard dash or the drills, citing a sore hamstring. Murphy then blew off the Clemson Pro Day. Supposedly he has a private workout scheduled in April. Count on the Eagles being there because Murphy has the strength and skills set to take over games.

Right now, Murphy is being scrutinized for his business decisions. Besides the draft workouts, he’s the first healthy Clemson player to bypass a bowl game in the Dabo Swinney era, according to reports.

If Eagles defensive line coach Tracy Rocker can get his hands on Murphy, the kid will be at the front of the line to run gassers at training camp.

But back to the Eagles. With guard Isaac Seumalo committing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Birds need an offensive tackle who also can play inside. With defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson pointed toward Denver, they’re going to need depth there. There is plenty of help in both of those areas.

Though trading down doesn’t exactly fit the aggressive, all-in, go-for-it mentality of Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni, it’s a pretty good play both in this and future drafts. Gone for the second, third and fourth years of the pending Jalen Hurts pact are free-agent spending frenzies. Additionally, some tough business decisions have to be made; i.e. how much longer will over-30 vets Slay and Cox be around?

The reality is that once Hurts gets a new contract, making the most of draft picks and the limited payroll they account for will become even more of a priority.

Right now the Eagles have the 10th and the 30th picks in the first round, selections in the second (No. 62) and third (94 overall) rounds and two seventh-rounders (219 and 248).

Even if the Eagles hit on their picks this spring, they’re still going to win games the way they did last season. The formula is etched in stone. Theywill go as far as Hurts, the offensive line and pass catchers A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert take them in 2023.

Providing those components stay healthy enough to play, the Eagles have enough resources to get back to the Super Bowl.

Contact Bob Grotz at rgrotz@21st-centurymedia.com

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