The Eagles love participating in the draft shuffle.
They have also shown a willingness to trade up for players they want, but their recent draft history shows that trading up for a player may not be in their best interests. This year's draft is heralded as one of the deepest drafts in centuries, perhaps millennia, but if the Eagles want an impact defensive secondary player, they will probably have to trade up. I will delve into whether this is the right decision for a team that is adamant about not rebuilding, and whom the Eagles could be targeting.
Eagles Trading History
2003: Drafted Jerome McDougle. Traded first round pick (30th) and second (63rd) for 15th pick overall.
2004: Drafted Shawn Andrews. Traded first (28th) and second (58th) for 16th pick overall.
2007-8: Traded out of the first round in both years and drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007.
Jerome McDougle and Shawn Andrews are the two biggest busts in the Andy Reid era. (FredEx is probably more disappointing than both of them, but I will always love "The People's Champ" for his role in 4th-and-26.)
Both McDougle and Andrews arguably became busts due to reasons other than natural ability, so maybe the Eagles scouts aren't at fault. McDougle was potentially ready to break out before being shot in the stomach by armed robbers. Shawn Andrews was a Pro Bowler before he pulled a Ricky Williams/Amy Winehouse and went bat-^$ insane.
Who the Eagles Want
Eric Berry, S Tennessee
The name Ed Reed gets thrown around a lot when people talk about Eric Berry, and with good reason. Berry possesses elite measurables and no weaknesses. He has the skill set of a cornerback as well, but his crushing tackles and ball-hawking ability clearly belong at safety.
I highly doubt the Eagles will trade for him as they would need to get into the top 10; Berry could be taken as early as fourth overall. Jumping from 24th into the top 10 would require a hefty price according to my draft chart. (I imagine my value chart is similar to the real thing, only with more pictures of rainbows and unicorns.)
The Eagles want to keep the 37th pick due to the enviable position it will present Thursday night, thus Berry is a plausible option only if he drops out of the top 10 as the Eagles don't have enough ammunition.
Earl Thomas, S Texas
This is the player I'm convinced the Eagles want to draft. He rates just a smidge under Berry, but he has received very little attention. He is undersized, but has spent his entire career proving that it does not limit his game. In terms of body type, he is similar to Troy Polamalu. Read this glowing review from Mike Mayock, "I've probably watched 300-400 snaps apiece and in my opinion, Earl Thomas is the most instinctive free safety I've seen on tape in five or six years."
Earl Thomas may be underrated, and the Eagles could be seeing value in getting him with a mid-round pick. I believe they want to package their 24th overall pick with the 55th overall pick in the second round.
Once again looking at my unicorn-encrusted chart, this package would net them the 15th pick. However, the Eagles are crafty bargainers and may be able to convince a team with a higher pick than 15th to take their package. They reportedly have been talking to the Jaguars (10th) and the Dolphins (12th). Trading with the Jaguars is especially interesting as the 24th pick would be a prime location to pick up Tim Tebow.
Joe Haden, CB Florida
He is the most unlikely to become an Eagle out of the three, but if they want a cornerback, Joe Haden is the only one the Eagles would have to trade up for. He possesses elite speed and is a great blitzer. It is unlikely that the Eagles would spend multiple picks on Haden, though, when Kareem Jackson and/or Kyle Wilson should fall to them at 24.
Who Knows What the Eagles Want
They are expected to be aggressive with their picks and their drafts tend to be surprising. For all we know, Andy Reid could just be typical Andy Reid, and draft some form of lineman with their first pick. Additionally, let's hope that the Eagles don't trade up for a lineman as history tells us that it would not be smart move.