DiCecco's Draft Notes: Trade Down Practical For Birds?
While sifting through the many questions I received for this week’s mailbag, a couple stood out. So I’ve dedicated this week’s notebook to examine a potential first-round trade-down and highlight a pair of Day 2 defensive tackles who could feasibly be in play.
I’ve seen a lot of questions regarding the logic of moving down in the first round to collect additional assets. Sure, as a team undergoing an extensive rebuild, the allure of stockpiling ammo is enticing, but is it practical in this scenario?
Well, it depends.
I’ve always big a strong proponent of holding firm and selecting the best player available, which at No. 6, will likely be Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts. However, if the Eagles opt to trade down, keep an eye on the Carolina Panthers at No. 8.
The Panthers, reportedly “locked in” on Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson, have left no stone unturned in search for an upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater. Assuming Panthers brass is unable to pry Watson away, they will be in hot pursuit of signal callers Zach Wilson or Trey Lance.
From an Eagles perspective, a drop to No. 8 still leaves them in prime position to come away with Jaylen Waddle, Caleb Farley, Patrick Surtain, or maybe Kyle Pitts. Unlike most drafts, where the first round is comprised of an array of surefire blue-chippers, there is a considerable drop-off in talent beyond the 9th or 10th pick.
Lost among the litany of deficiencies on this Eagles’ roster, the defensive tackle room lacks an upside-laden, cost-controlled option to groom during the transitional period. Fletcher Cox (30) and Javon Hargrave (28) carry large salaries and likely won’t be in midnight green long enough to see the end of the rebuild. Hassan Ridgeway has been a pleasant surprise in a rotational role but has been available for just 14 games in two seasons. Raequan Williams and T.Y. McGill are replacement-level players who round out the depth chart and are hardly locks to make the roster.
However, is this particular class, there will be starting-caliber talent that can be found in the third and fourth rounds without having to squander prime draft capital.
Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon (6-3, 305), heralded for his pass-rush prowess, should be available in the third round, where the Eagles pick twice. Nixon, who has logged 19 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks – and a 71-yard interception return for a touchdown – in 20 games for the Hawkeyes, would give the Eagles another disruptive interior presence. He often wins the leverage battle and has the requisite strength to anchor in the run game. Nixon spent two years at the JUCO level and only has one season of stellar production, but if he continues to hone his craft and add size, his upside is immense.
On the flip side, Tommy Togiai offers an entirely different skill set. He’ll likely carve out a role as a predominately early down run defender as a rookie. The former Buckeye plays with proper pad level and outstanding strength at the point of attack. You won’t get much from Togiai in terms of pass rush, but his forte is freeing up teammates to swarm to the football. I currently have a late-third on Togiai.
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.