6 ways Eagles' draft swap with Saints changes 1st-round strategy, including another trade?
In many ways, the Eagles clarified a few things in their draft-pick swap with the New Orleans Saints on Monday.
The Eagles traded two of their three first-round picks (Nos. 16 and 19) to the Saints in return for the Saints' pick this year (No. 18) and another first-rounder in 2023.
The Eagles also threw in their sixth-round pick this year (No. 197) and received benefits in the form of an extra third-round pick this year, an extra second-round pick in 2024 and a seventh-round pick this year (No. 237).
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But the first-round picks will be the focus because the Eagles will still have two – their pick at No. 15 and the Saints' at No. 18.
Here are six repercussions from the trade:
1. QB is out of the question
The Eagles won't be drafting a quarterback in the first round this year.
For one, they likely would have to pool their two picks to move up into the top 10 to get either Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis.
And the Eagles are much better off making the overall team stronger around Jalen Hurts with two first-round picks rather than using one pick on a quarterback who may or may not play as a rookie.
Secondly, the Saints most likely acquired the two picks from the Eagles so they can move up for a quarterback.
2. Trading up more likely now
A popular theory before the trade was that with three first-round picks, the Eagles could trade one of them for a pick toward the end of the first round, or even early in the second in order to get an early-round pick next year.
The Eagles already got extra early-round picks in 2023 and 2024, so that seems less likely now.
With the extra third-round pick coming from the Saints, the Eagles can package their first- and third-round pick and move up a few spots, from No. 15 to No. 12, for example, in order to get one of their top-rated players.
In that scenario, if someone like CB Sauce Gardner, S Kyle Hamilton or even DE Kayvon Thibodeaux were to drop out of the top 10, the Eagles can pounce.
And it's very possible that at least one of them will fall if both Pickett and Willis go in the top 10 to QB-needy teams like Houston (No. 3), Carolina (No. 6), Atlanta (No. 8) or Seattle (No. 9).
Whether they deserve to or not, a quarterback or two almost always goes top 10.
3. LB drought will continue
It was a nice thought that the Eagles would end their drought of not drafting a true linebacker in the first round since 1979.
But after signing free agent Kyzir White and having just the two first-round picks, the Eagles will address bigger positions of need. So they'll likely pass on Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean in the first round, and possibly address the position with a Day 2 pick.
White is coming off a season in which he had 144 tackles last season for the Los Angeles Chargers, third in the NFL. And he fits the Eagles' new linebacker prototype in that he's a converted safety.
"I actually like it way better than safety because I’m more in the mix," White said. "I feel like I can use my speed and athleticism to my advantage."
4. Another 1st-round WR?
The Eagles could very well take a wide receiver in the first round for the third straight year.
First of all, they need one beside DeVonta Smith, despite how much they like Quez Watkins as a No. 2. The only move they made in free agency was adding Zach Pascal, a slot receiver.
The second is because this is a deep class for first-round wide receivers. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said there might not be an instant star such as the top three last year in the Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase, the Dolphins' Jaylen Waddle and Smith.
But there are several throughout the first round who can play right away. McShay has Garrett Wilson, Drake London and Chris Olave going before the Eagles' picks. But that still leaves players like Treylon Burks and Jahan Dotson.
Or the Eagles can take a chance on Alabama's Jameson Williams, who's rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in the national championship game. McShay rates Williams as the best of the WRs in this class – once he's healthy.
That won't necessarily help the Eagles right away. But he could help next year.
5. The other pick will be D-line
If there's one thing we know about general manager Howie Roseman, it's that he believes in building along the offensive and defensive lines.
The defensive line, even after adding Haason Reddick in free agency, still needs an infusion of youth. Brandon Graham is 34 and Derek Barnett is essentially on a one-year contract.
That leaves Josh Sweat as the only ascending defensive end under 26 on the roster. The Eagles can either hope that Thibodeaux drops into their range, or they could go for Purdue's George Karlaftis who's relatively new to football and thus might benefit from playing behind Reddick, Graham, Sweat and Barnett for a season.
6. The verdict
Assuming the Eagles stay at No. 15 and No. 18, the most likely choices are Olave at 15 and Karlaftis at 18.
But that is not Roseman's M.O. during a draft. There's a good chance he will trade up a few spots if Thibodeaux, Gardner or Hamilton fall out of the top 10.
The guess here is that it will be Gardner, giving the Eagles a cornerback they can use to start opposite Darius Slay in Week 1.
With the other pick, the Eagles will take Karlaftis over a wide receiver. Karlaftis has too much potential for the Eagles to pass on him.
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Why, after swap with Saints, Eagles may not be done trading