NFL draft rumors: Ja'Marr Chase isn't Dolphins' top WR target

Adam Hermann
·3 min read
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How Dolphins decision could help Eagles immensely originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

One day before the 2021 NFL Draft begins, where exactly the Eagles will pick in the first round remains a mystery. There are whispers of a trade up for certain coveted prospects, or possible trade down scenarios in case the draft board falls against them.

On Wednesday, rumors were swirling about one of the most exciting players in the entire 2021 class, and ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio dropped a very interesting nugget that should catch Eagles fans' attention:

"I've heard for weeks that the Dolphins would take Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle over Chase, if both are available at No. 6."

Oh boy. Chase, the stud wideout from LSU who opted out in 2020 after a monster season in 2019, would be quite a splash. Could a trade up be possible for the Eagles if he lasts past No. 6?

Let's say the first six picks play out the way they did in PFT's mock draft - Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Sewell, Pitts - except the Dolphins act on Florio's intel and pick Waddle over Chase at No. 6.

That means, at No. 7, Chase is still on the board and the Eagles are officially on the trade clock.

Using Rich Hill's NFL Trade Value chart, the Eagles have to account for 79 points to get from No. 12 to No. 7. They don't want to trade No. 37, and it's too valuable anyway. Would pick a third-round pick (No. 70) and a fifth-round pick (No. 151) get the job done? I'd make that swap in a heartbeat. The Eagles have accrued all this draft capital for a reason. If you feel strongly about a player like Chase, go get him.

This scenario doesn't feel  impossible. The first three picks will be quarterbacks, which leaves the Falcons at No. 4 and Bengals at No. 5. We've heard plenty of rumblings about Cincinnati's Joe Burrow asking the organization to take Chase, but a second-year quarterback only holds so much sway in decision making. The Falcons could take Kyle Pitts, or they could trade the pick to a QB-needy team who can't believe the 49ers passed on Justin Fields for Mac Jones.

And if Chase is still on the board at No. 7, the Eagles feel like the likeliest team in the Top 12 to trade up and grab him. The Panthers seem to have a strong core of young receivers, as do the Broncos and Cowboys, and the Giants just paid Kenny Golladay big money to be WR1.

If Chase lasts to No. 7 and the Lions are listening to offers, the Eagles should absolutely pounce. He's a superstar in the making at a position of need, and adding a potential All-Pro talent to your team for the next decade in an increasingly pass-centric league is a no-brainer.

Of course, Eagles fans will point out that the team could've just sat at No. 6 and picked Chase - and they'll be right! - but adding a first-round pick next year is definitely worth all of the weird maneuvering it would take to land him.

We'll see what happens Thursday night. It should be a wild ride.

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