There is a temptation to paint the Eagles’ QB-related activities as some kind of smoke screen. By appearing interested in a quarterback, the logic goes, the Eagles created urgency for other teams to do whatever necessary to move up and assure themselves of a shot at Carson Wentz or Jared Goff.
That urgency led the Los Angeles Rams to trade a bonanza of draft picks to Tennessee to move up to No. 1. And that will help the Eagles by making another high-rated player available when they draft with the No. 8 overall pick.
Sounds good, but it doesn’t really make sense. The Eagles have spent a considerable amount of time and money studying the draft’s top quarterbacks. They traveled to San Francisco, South Dakota and Tennessee. Then they brought the top QB prospects to Philadelphia for visits.
The money isn’t as important here as the time. Owner Jeff Lurie would be willing to spend a few thousand dollars to mislead the rest of the NFL. But it’s hard to imagine the Eagles wasting the days spent traveling across the country and dining with quarterbacks just to create a smoke screen.
That time is valuable. It is time the Eagles could have been spending with Myles Jack, DeForest Buckner and Joey Bosa. They will have a very important decision to make in the first round, a decision that could give their program a huge boost or set it back immeasurably. It’s a decision that’s much too critical to make after wasting three weeks on subterfuge.
That doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t benefit from the Rams’ decision to move up to No. 1 to draft a quarterback. If the Rams take Wentz, the North Dakota State quarterback, at No. 1, there will be that much more urgency to get Cal’s Goff or Memphis’ Paxton Lynch.
If teams are pushing quarterback prospects up their draft boards, then elite players are sliding down to make room. And that could leave the Eagles in a better position at No. 8.
But that’s an unintended consequence of the actions of other teams. It is not a result of the Eagles’ manipulating other teams through crafty subterfuge. That scenario assumes that the Eagles are the focus of the NFL and other teams are bit players – the kind of view that fans might have. The latest twist is that the Eagles agreed to cast this smokescreen in exchange for the Titans taking DeMarco Murray off their hands. People will go a long way to make the facts fit their theory.
The reality is that every team is doing its best to improve itself. Just as the Tennessee Titans were never going to give the Eagles the chance to draft Marcus Mariota last year, they were not going to do the Eagles’ bidding this year.
The Titans went with the best offer. That came from the Rams. The Eagles had nothing to do with it.