Philadelphia Eagles

Insider warns Eagles could make surprising pick at No. 12

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So much discussion around the Eagles' draft has centered around high-profile positions. Immediately after the Carson Wentz trade, questions swirled about a possible QB pick. After the team seemed to hand the reins to Jalen Hurts, No. 6 seemed to be ticketed for a wide receiver. And after they traded down to No. 12, the likelihood of a shutdown corner skyrocketed.

But what if the Eagles do what they so often do and opt to draft a lineman?

Don't rule it out, says at least one NFL insider.

Sports Illustrated's NFL insider Albert Breer was asked during a mailbag over the weekend whether the Eagles will take a wideout in next week's Draft, and Breer's answer was very interesting:

"If Roseman is using this draft and the next (he’ll have four picks in the first two rounds and probably three first-rounders in 2022) to turn the page and get younger, his history tells me the lines of scrimmage will get a hard look somewhere on draft day. I think the dream for the Eagles would be to have Kyle Pitts slip to No. 12 (not happening). Absent that, I don’t think you should ignore the possibility of them drafting guys like Rashawn Slater and Alijah Vera-Tucker."

Breer makes a good point about Roseman's long-term approach to this year's draft. Many draftniks believe 2022 is going to be a much stronger class, and the way the Eagles traded down to add assets next year makes you think Roseman is thinking long-term, likely with a sense of even more job security after he survived a 4-11-1 season that saw the head coach and quarterback both depart.

I don't agree with the idea, which I've seen too many times over the past few weeks, that taking a wide receiver like Devonta Smith is indicative of a win-now attitude. Ideally you'll have that wide receiver on the team for a decade; having a legitimate top-tier wide receiver is something the Eagles have been missing for way too long.

But taking a lineman is how the Eagles would up picking Brandon Graham in 2010, Fletcher Cox in 2012, Lane Johnson in 2013, three foundational players who have spent their entire careers in Philadelphia and played instrumental roles in the Super Bowl run in 2017.

If Roseman is thinking more big-picture and long-term as he heads into this draft, I can certainly see him aiming for Slater or Vera-Tucker. And for what it's worth, those two are highly-regarded prospects in their own rights, if not as exciting as a Smith or Jaylen Waddle.

Both NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah and Mel Kiper had Rashawn Slater as the No. 9 prospect on their late March Big Boards, and Kiper had Vera-Tucker at No. 10, while Jeremiah had Vera-Tucker at No. 15. They're both big, capable players who have lots of experience under their respective belts and could theoretically slot in as a starter at left tackle instead of Jordan Maialta.

Luckily, we're only 10 days away from the draft, so we'll have answers soon about Roseman's approach. But don't be surprised if he opts to shore up the trenches instead of shooting for the moon.

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