NFL Draft: Eagles Trade Out of First Round
PHILADELPHIA - As expected, the Eagles traded out of the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, sending the 32nd overall pick to the Baltimore Ravens, who then selected Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Super Bowl champions also sent the No. 132 overall pick to the Ravens in the deal and got back No. 52 and No. 125 this year, plus a second-round selection next year.
“We felt like the value was right for us,” Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. “Where we are as a football team, where the value was in this draft, there are a bunch of players that we still like that we’re optimistic and excited to get tomorrow.”
The Eagles were intent on adding extra picks after coming into the process with just six selections and moved down 20 spots at the top of the draft as well as moving up seven spots in the fourth round so they didn't add assets this year, at least yet. The main piece of this, and it's a significant one, is the future second-round selection in 2019.
“There are not many times you can get an opportunity to move back in the draft and pick up a second-round pick,” Roseman said. “So for us, we felt it was the right value.”
Jackson was the fifth quarterback selected in the first round, a run that started with No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield going to Cleveland.
As far as the NFC East goes, the Giants went first at No. 2 overall, eschewing a quarterback and taking talented Penn State running back Saquon Barkley in an effort to maximize whatever the 37-year-old Eli Manning might have left.
While explaining the decision, New York general manager Dave Gettleman called positional value in the NFL a "crock" and explained Barkley was the best prospect in the draft.
The Redskins, meanwhile, were intent on helping their porous run defense and coveted Washington nose tackle Vita Vea but were foiled by Tampa Bay, which traded above the 'Skins to get the big 350-pounder.
The Redskins didn't deter from their plan, however, and went to the next man up, Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, regarded as the second-best interior run-stuffer in the draft.
Finally, the Cowboys were up at No. 19 and selected a player the Eagles had significant interest in, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
The hometown fans would have preferred a receiver to replace the departed Dez Bryant but Dallas instead chose to bolster the defensive side of the football adding the 256-pound Vander Esch, who likely projects in the middle between Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen