Do not look now, but we have another major trade leading up to the NFL Draft.
A stunner in Cleveland as the Cleveland Browns becomes the next team at the top of the NFL Draft to forgo their pick in favor of being able to trade down. A trade between the Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles became official not long ago.
According to ESPN, the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to supply the Cleveland Browns with a truckload of draft picks. Those selections include this year’s first-rounder, which is the eighth pick in the draft, this year’s third and fourth round picks. Cleveland will also receive the Eagle’s first round pick for next year and a second-round selection in 2018.
It is quite a haul for the No. 2 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. It is also the second trade for one of the top picks in this year’s draft. For the Philadelphia Eagles, the intentions are abundantly clear – the Eagles want to draft a quarterback.
Uneven play from the NFL’s most important position doomed the Eagles last season. Former head coach Chip Kelly stockpiled the team with enough offensive talent to at least challenge in the NFC East. The acquisition of running back DeMarco Murray was supposed to solidify the Eagles as a frontrunner and a Super Bowl contender. That proved not meant to be once the season began.
Offensively, Philadelphia could not get on track. Sweeping changes to the coaching signaled a change in philosophy was destined to take place. And now, as it is almost a guarantee that the Eagles will select a quarterback with their newly added No. 2, a long rebuilding process begins. It becomes a matter of which signal-caller will be on the board between North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and California’s Jared Goff. Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson believes that both quarterbacks are even.
“These guys are pretty even. From all the physical tools, both of them are extremely gifted. Good arm strength, good mobility. Obviously, Carson is a little bigger, maybe a little better athlete right now. There’s not much separating those two.”
In trading for the Browns’ No. 2 pick, the Eagles ensured themselves a shot at one of the top two quarterbacks available. They were able to outmaneuver other teams who offered the Browns packages which also centered around draft picks. Last week, it was reported that the Eagles were one of the teams in communication with the Tennessee Titans regarding the No. 1 pick. By acquiring the No. 2 pick from the Browns, Philadelphia did not have to relinquish as many assets as the Los Angeles Rams did, and they will get a QB.
The plan for the Cleveland Browns seems clear. Newly hired head coach Hue Jackson wants to build with depth. Having signed former No. 1 pick Robert Griffin III to a two-year deal helps tremendously. Also, at No. 8 the Browns could be in the running to nab Paxton Lynch from Memphis if they choose to go in that direction.
Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer believes that by having traded down, the Browns are now in the running for a pair of former Ohio State Buckeyes in Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott. That is all due to the excellent offseason work the Browns’ front office have done so far.
Robert Griffin III gives the Cleveland Browns some insurance. This year is the most important one for his career. If he pans out, which many pundits are predicting, he will be a long-term solution at a quarterbacking position that have been the conversation of futility for decades now. The pieces are in place for RG III to return to the promise that he had with the Washington Redskins.
If there is a coach who can unlock Robert Griffin III’s potential, it is Jackson. Hue Jackson is highly regarded as a superior offensive mind. He has been credited with the evolution of Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton. Jackson is also recognized as the coach who spearheaded a dismal Oakland Raiders’ team to a decent 8-8 record a few seasons ago.
He gets another chance with a Cleveland Browns’ team that he is familiar with. Having faced them twice for the two seasons he spent as the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator, he knows what he has from the players remaining on the roster. He will have a chance to build upon that roster with two additional draft pick this season.
It will be a while before fans get an idea which team got the better of this trade. Both the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles made a move they felt will move their franchises forward. What we do know is that the Browns, like the Titans a week prior, played hot potato with an NFL draft pick.
Who else wants to make a deal?
[Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images]