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NFL Draft

Breaking Down Draft Implications Of Dolphins-Eagles Trade

  • The Draft Network
  • March 26, 2021
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The main event trade of the day on Friday featured the San Francisco 49ers moving up to the Miami Dolphins’ No. 3 overall spot to likely secure their quarterback of the future. But there was a trade just under the top billing that’s highly notable as well and happened minutes after the first deal.

Fresh off of moving back from No. 3 overall to No. 12 (San Francisco’s original pick), the Dolphins traded six spots up the board, shipping the pick they just got alongside pick No. 123 overall and a 2022 first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the sixth and 156th overall picks. Those are a lot of numbers, so let’s focus on the meat and potatoes here. Miami essentially moved back three spots (No. 3 to No. 6), picking up a 2023 first-round pick (49ers) in the process while also swapping a fourth-round pick for a fifth-round pick (Eagles) in 2021 and getting a third-round pick in 2022 (49ers). Philadelphia earned themselves an extra first-round pick next season and an upgrade from a fifth-round pick to a fourth-round pick this season to move back six spots on night one of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Got it? Good.

So what does this deal mean for the Dolphins and the future of Tua Tagovailoa in Miami? How about the Eagles and the future of Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia? Let’s dive in.

Miami Dolphins

This deal signals that Miami is rolling with Tagovailoa as their starter, at least for 2021. So when you take a quarterback out of the equation, the Dolphins appear to be in position to grab the prized pass-catcher they wanted all along despite picking three spots later, all while adding future draft capital to their coffer.

Here’s what TDN’s Director of Scouting and Dolphins expert Kyle Crabbs had to say:

"The Dolphins' busy day has turned the NFL draft order upside down. But one thing that likely hasn't changed as a result of the transactions with both San Francisco and Philadelphia is Miami's presumptive target with the No. 6 overall pick in this year's draft. Miami has been tied to pass-catchers all offseason and that should still be the assumption for Miami. The question is, which target is the one they'll prioritize?

"Miami's trade parlay seems to indicate it does have a particular pass-catcher that its taken with—the team very easily could have stood firm at 12 and acted during the NFL draft if they were compelled by the action on the board to move for one of the "big four" targets in Ja’Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle, and DeVonta Smith. But in surrendering a 2022 first-round pick (their own) to move back up to No. 6, the Dolphins are telegraphing that they don't want the board to fall their way and instead have a specific target in mind. 

"You can probably cross Penei Sewell off the list for Miami now, given the 2020 investments into the offensive line and Miami's willingness to fall behind Cincinnati and Atlanta, two potential landing spots for Sewell. Miami appears to be reading the room and betting they can get their ideal target at No. 6 all the same as they could have at No. 3—but do so with an extra 2022 third-round choice and 2023 first-round choice in their back pocket."

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles’ willingness to trade out of the top 10 is a sign that they’re more than happy to roll with Hurts as their starting quarterback following the Carson Wentz trade earlier this offseason. While there were some rumors that they could be interested in a player like Justin Fields with the No. 6 overall pick, moving back a half-dozen spots takes them out of QB territory. The Eagles instead choose to add a major piece of 2022 draft capital as the team looks to rebuild after an unexpected dreadful season in 2020.

Here’s what TDN’s Senior College Football Writer and Eagles expert Benjamin Solak had to say:

"The Eagles clearly wanted to be players in this year’s quarterback market, and at 6, initially seemed like they were in a strong position to do so. But with their desired target—Zach Wilson—presumably off the board with the Jets at 2, they seemed unwilling to mortgage their future for another passer the way the 49ers were. This makes sense: the 49ers are far more clearly a competing team with a rookie QB than the Eagles are.

"So that was unfortunate for Philly, but what a stroke of luck that the Dolphins didn’t want to go all the way back to 12. By recouping another 2022 first-round pick, the Eagles now have three first-rounders in 2022, putting them in a strong position to draft a top QB in that class or continue filling out their depleted roster. Moving back to 12 does not preclude them from grabbing one of the top three WRs, top two CBs (Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn), or one of the top two tackles, so they can still grab one of their targets from when they were at 6, or trade back again to continue adding ammunition for what figures to be a substantial rebuild."

While Dolphins and Eagles fans will surely fight over who “won” the deal, there is logic to why each team made this deal a priority after the big domino with San Francisco fell. For everyone else, there is a new sense of wonder now that first half of the first round is completely different than it was when the day began.

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