Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Except when it comes to the NFL Draft, in which case the smoke may be planted 10 miles away to distract everyone from the actual blaze.
If you ask me, that’s what’s going on with all these rumors about the Eagles moving high up in next week's NFL Draft. First there was the report saying the team was in the hunt to move up to the fourth-overall pick. Then there’s this nugget, from National Football Post’s Dan Pompei:
A buzz is building in NFL front offices that the Eagles are going to take a quarterback fairly high. If they don’t make a move for Ryan Tannehill in Round 1, the Eagles could wait until the second round and go after Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden. Such a move could indicate the Eagles have concerns about Michael Vick’s ability to stay healthy and how he fits in Andy Reid’s offense.
First of all, there is ample evidence to suggest the Eagles aren’t finished at quarterback. Mike Kafka is no sure-thing backup, and Trent Edwards didn’t receive more than the most token endorsement from Reid as the third-stringer. They might be looking to draft another quarterback to develop or pick up another veteran.
But why would the Eagles move up to get Tannehill? He’s way overvalued as a Top 10 pick, and there’s no reason for the team to mortgage most of their draft to reach for a guy like that. To get up to the Browns pick, for example, would require three-quarters of the cost the Redskins paid for the rights to the second pick and RG3 and you probably wouldn’t get half as good of a player.
Moreover, if the team really was interested in moving up to get Tannehill or drafting one of the other quarterbacks a little bit later on, it would be in their interest to keep such thoughts to themselves.
The Eagles don’t want to trade up from 15 to anywhere between three and eight. It’d cost too much, and I sense their interest in Tannehill has been overstated. Philadelphia has sniffed around the quarterback position through the offseason, which could be a sign they’ve cooled on Michael Vick as their long-term solution at the position, and the Eagles have been linked to the Texas A&M quarterback because they sent quarterback coach Doug Pederson to the school to work out Tannehill two weeks ago. The Eagles might pay something to move up for Tannehill, but it won’t be much, and the move won’t be far.
I think it’s interesting that King pegged ninth overall as being the highest the Eagles would be likely to trade up. That probably has something to do with the Dolphins pick at eight being about as far as Tannehill is likely to drop, but more importantly, the Eagles can move up that high using just one of their second-round picks.
If I were sitting at 15, I’d probably be content to see how the first eight picks shake out. Three quarterbacks are likely to go that high, which could leave one or more elite position players within striking distance. If not, Howie Roseman can still watch the board and jump ahead of any team he thinks might be targeting his top player (say, DT Fletcher Cox).
The rest is just smoke.