The beginning of the NFL draft can sometimes act as a formality; with there being little surprise as to who gets picked at the top of the first round. The San Francisco 49ers’ trade into the top three certainly indicates that three quarterbacks will go off the board with the first three picks, and there’s a really good chance a fourth quarterback gets taken with the fourth-pick as well, which would be the first time ever that four quarterbacks are the first four picks.
Assuming the Cincinnati Bengals don’t trade back, they’re in the driver’s seat to take the first non-quarterback in the draft with the fifth-overall pick. Conventional wisdom says that player would be Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, but according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Philadelphia Eagles traded back from the sixth-overall pick with the apparent belief that the Bengals will end up taking LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
The Eagles worked exclusively with the Dolphins, and Roseman had to keep the trade under wraps in the two-plus weeks in between to allow for the bang-bang nature of how it eventually would go down. And with a pretty good decent chance the Bengals will take LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase at five (we mentioned in our mock this week that that Joe Burrow has given Cincinnati’s brass a glowing recommendation), Philly felt comfortable with the difference in talent between six and 12—and also operated with the knowledge that it’d be hard to get a future first (this being Miami’s slotted No. 1 in 2022) in exchange for moving down closer to the draft, particularly if it looked like the top four picks would be QBs.
Are the Eagles playing themselves with this line of thinking? The Bengals have been heavily rumored to be targeting Sewell, but Breer did mention last week that Joe Burrow is indeed pushing for the Bengals to draft Chase.
The Eagles have no way of knowing for sure whom the Bengals will pick, even if they’re certain that four quarterbacks will go before them. This move couldn’t have been operated with any certainty that Chase would be gone, so perhaps they’re working with value in mind. Now with the 12th pick in the first round, the Eagles will likely be able to get one of Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, or even Kyle Pitts after a manageable trade up back in front of the Dallas Cowboys.
At this point, if the Bengals do stay at five, the pick is bound to be one of Sewell or Chase. There definitely is a buzz for Chase at the moment, but I’d say the safer bet would still be on Sewell until something more substantial is leaked.