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Eagles Trade For Kenny Pickett is A Lesson on Draft Prep

The Philadelphia Eagles had very little chance to land Kenny Pickett back in 2022 but still did the work on the prospect.

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles’ trade for quarterback Kenny Pickett should be viewed as a lesson regarding NFL draft preparation.

The Eagles got the former Pittsburgh starter by dropping down 22 spots in April’s upcoming draft (No. 98 at the end of the third round to No. 120 in the fourth round), along with a 2025 seventh-round pick.

Rewind to the 2022 offseason and the Eagles weren’t completely sold on Jalen Hurts as the long-term starter before what turned out to be his breakout season. The organization had grown comfortable with the thought of another campaign to define where Hurts truly was in his development as a young QB, however.

Kenny Pickett

Former Pittsburgh starter Kenny Pickett.

The only potential sea change at the time would have been a “home run,” as described to’s Eagles Today by team sources at the time. That definition was limited to convincing the embattled Deshaun Watson to consider Philadelphia, or the organization’s “white whale,” Russell Wilson, to think about the City of Brotherly Love during his Seattle exit plan.

Neither veteran star considered the Eagles with Watson, who shared the same offseason QB coach with Hurts at the time, not wanting to be the one blocking his friend’s opportunity, according to an NFL source.

Hindsight says it’s better to be lucky than good as a stellar supporting cast headlined by a draft night trade for superstar receiver A.J. Brown helped Hurts develop into the runner-up for MVP Patrick Mahomes in the 20022 season.

Watson, meanwhile, has never been the same as he was in Houston after pre-sexual assault allegations. At the same time, Wilson proved to be a rapidly declining player in Denver who will try to give it one more shot in Pittsburgh this season as the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to the relationship with Pickett and the Steelers.

Pickett started this process as the headliner of a “poor draft class” at QB in 2022 and the only one taken in the first round, at No. 20 overall to the Steelers.

The Eagles’ due diligence on Pickett was never about the first round after a surprising run to the postseason in Nick Sirianni’s first season as a head coach. Philadelphia was big-game hunting at No. 15 and ultimately vaulted over Baltimore at 14 to get to Jordan Davis.

Multiple team sources confirmed that GM Howie Roseman and his personnel staff were extremely high on Pickett, however, and certainly would have considered him in the second round if others stayed away, perhaps spooked by Pickett’s smaller hands.

Roseman, himself, went out to watch Pickett play at one point, no doubt helped by proximity and a mid-week game but still noteworthy.

That second-round scenario never even came close to developing but there’s also another reason to do the work on players who seem to be in no man’s land for an organization's draft positioning – the future.

You never know when a player you may like might shake loose or be able to be pried from their original landing spot.

As things went south for Pickett in Pittsburgh, Roseman saw the opportunity to get a cost-effective backup with 24 games of starting experience for the next two seasons just as Hurts’ massive extension begins to kick in.

No team has valued the backup QB position more than Philadelphia in recent years and to get a 25-year-old, who happened to love the Eagles growing up in Ocean Township, New Jersey, and was believed by the same organization to be worthy of a late first-round grade three years ago, is as practical an end game the Eagles could have hoped for.