A week after the Los Angeles Rams pulled off a stunning move to reach the top of the draft, where they presumably will take a quarterback, the Eagles followed with a major move of their own presumably to get in position to draft another passer.
The Eagles acquired the Browns’ second overall pick this year and a fourth-rounder in 2017 in exchange for Philadelphia’s eighth overall spot, third and fourth-round picks this year, a first-round choice in 2017 and a second-rounder in 2018.
Now it’s a matter of seeing which quarterback — Carson Wentz of North Dakota State and Jared Goff of Cal — goes where.
The Eagles long had been rumored to be seeking a way to the top of the draft board, even after moving up to the eighth overall pick in a trade with the Dolphins. And despite signing quarterback Sam Bradford to a two-year deal just before the start of free agency, the team has sent definitive signals about its desire to add another quarterback to the mix.
They now have that chance, taking advantage of a situation where the Browns weren’t interested in either Wentz or Goff after signing former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III to a two-year deal.
Will the blockbuster deal work out for the Eagles? General manager Howie Roseman, who has re-tooled the roster in dramatic fashion after Chip Kelly’s ouster near the end of last season, believes it’s worth the chance.
“It’s hard to be great if you don’t take some risks,” Roseman said on Wednesday.
The Eagles’ preference is for Wentz, a raw but talented quarterback who starred for the Bison and has drawn comparisons to the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger. But if Wentz goes to the Rams, then Goff almost certainly will be the pick.
“We as an organization had time to go back and study, [asking] what are the keys to winning?” Roseman said at a news conference. “What are the keys to being championship-caliber over a long period of time? I don’t think I’m saying anything that anyone in this room doesn’t believe in. It’s quarterbacks.”
The Browns are in a rebuilding mode under first-year coach Hue Jackson, and the team’s move toward a “Moneyball” type approach to the roster under Paul DePodesta, a former baseball executive with the Indians, Mets, Athletics and Dodgers. DePodesta helped incorporate statistical analysis of baseball into building the roster with the A’s.
Previous years in which the top two picks were traded, according to STATS:
1967 — New Orleans sent the top spot to the Baltimore Colts, who took Bubba Smith, and the Giants sent the second pick to Minnesota, which grabbed Clint Jones.
1975 — Atlanta got the No. 1 selection from the Colts and took Steve Bartkowski, while Dallas acquired the No. 2 from the Giants to take Randy White.
1997 — The Rams got the top spot from the Jets to draft Orlando Pace, and the Saints sent the No. 2 selection to the Raiders, who picked Darrell Russell.