PHILADELPHIA – The trade offer was on the table, and the conversations began between Howie Roseman, Andy Weidl, most certainly Jeffrey Lurie, and just maybe Nick Sirianni.
The Eagles’ brain trust had to decide if there were 12 players in the 2021 NFL Draft they felt good about.
The answer was yes, so they pulled the trigger, sending the sixth overall pick they tried so hard to acquire in losing to the Washington Football Team in the season finale, to the Miami Dolphins for the pick Miami had just acquired in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers - the 12th overall selection - Miami’s fourth-round pick (123 overall) and next year’s first-round pick.
“The reason we traded back from 6 to 12 was because flexibility creates opportunity,” said Roseman on Wednesday. “And for us, having an extra first-round pick, when you go back and look at things that are hard to acquire, that is one of the hardest things to acquire is a team's first-round pick in the following year and to move back six spots.”
Another factor in making the decision was to find out which team Miami was trading out of its original draft position – No. 3 overall.
“When we get the call and we're having the discussions with Miami and we've got to figure out who they're trading with to be able to answer their question whether we would move back,” said Roseman. “So, once we found out that it was San Francisco, we knew that three quarterbacks were going to be off the board in the first three picks. It allowed us to lock in even more on who the guys would be that would be available at 12.”
Meanwhile, in Miami, Dolphins GM Chris Grier was having his pre-draft availability and he, too, was asked about the trades.
“Once it looked like San Francisco could happen, we kind of reached out to a few teams just gauging whether they would move or not and Philadelphia was a very good partner working with,” Grier told reporters in Miami.
“Howie did a good job with us in terms of what we were looking for and what we were looking to do and I give them a lot of credit. There’s a lot of teams that wanted to wait and wanted to wait and see. It takes guts to make a move like that, so I give San Francisco and Philadelphia both credit for doing it.”
Roseman may not be done dealing.
Many seem to think he could try to get back into the top 10. Some think he may try to move down.
The NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah offered his take on Wednesday during a call with NFL media.
“When you look at that defense with the Colts and you kind of go back through that scheme (that) was more front dependent than coverage dependent,” he said, referring to Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon’s time in Indy. “That's why to me I could see them going with an edge rusher. If the Eagles were going to move around, which with Howie you always know that's an opportunity, even when he's at 12, I don't know if he's going to stay there; he's going to go up or down again.
“If he goes up you could make a case for somebody like a (Kyle) Pitts on the offensive side. But to me, if they slide down in the draft, it's going to point more towards the edge rush and trying to get some more young guys in there.”
Roseman’s wheeling and dealing are likely to continue throughout the draft.
“If you move back, it's because you feel like you have a bunch of guys that are the same value, and you'd be really happy getting one and getting the extra volume from that pick,” he said. “If you move up, it's because your board kind of drops off at that point. And if you select it's because you feel like it's the last player in that sort of range.”
Of the 11 picks Roseman has to play with in just a couple more weeks, five of them in the final two rounds – three in the sixth and two in the seventh – an area where success can be difficult to find.
“We're constantly trying to study the guys who have hit late and the guys who have hit as undrafted free agents and trying to replicate that as we get into the later rounds, but the flexibility of having those picks also gives you the opportunity if you wanted to move up in a particular round,” said the GM.
“But when we're looking for late guys, we are looking for guys who have traits. We're still looking to try to find guys who can be role players or even develop into starters in those rounds. We're not trying to draft backups.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven and host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.