NFL

Eagles have many draft options if they stay at No. 32

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

By ROB MAADDI

AP Pro Football Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Owning the last pick in the first round of the NFL draft is a spot the Philadelphia Eagles want more often because it goes to the Super Bowl champions.

"That's the goal," Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said.

With no picks in the second or third round, Philadelphia could trade down and add an extra pick or two.

"We're open for business in every round," said Howie Roseman, the executive VP of football operations.

Roseman is known for making moves. He's one of the most aggressive executives in the league. It's an organizational philosophy that's also reflected by coach Doug Pederson's playcalling.

"From our perspective, we're going to keep swinging," Roseman said. "That starts with (owner) Jeffrey (Lurie). Coach Pederson showed that from a coaching perspective. We're going to keep swinging. When we're wrong, we're going to study why we're wrong, and we're going to get back up to the plate and we're not going to take that called third strike."

The Eagles enter the draft with only six picks. After the first round, they'll wait until No. 130 in the fourth round. They have another fourth-round pick at No. 132 and picks in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

Here's some things to know about the Eagles heading into the draft:

HOT SPOT

Philadelphia bolstered its defensive line by adding three-time Pro Bowl DE Michael Bennett and five-time Pro Bowl DT Haloti Ngata in the offseason. Both players along with DEs Brandon Graham and Chris Long are entering the final season of their contracts so a defensive lineman in the first round is a strong possibility. Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard and Michigan DT Maurice Hurst could be nice fits.

HOT SPOT NO. 2

RB LeGarrette Blount left in free agency and Jay Ajayi is entering the final season of his rookie contract. Even if veteran Darren Sproles returns for another season, the Eagles could choose a running back in the first round. The team hasn't selected a back in the first round since Keith Byars in 1986, but the draft is loaded at this position. LSU's Derrius Guice and Georgia's Sony Michel are possibilities at No. 32.

BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE

Many personnel guys around the league insist they will pick the best player available when their team is on the clock. The Eagles are in the enviable position of being able to carry out that plan - unless the best player at No. 32 is a quarterback. They have Carson Wentz, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld. But if they stay put, the 32nd pick could be a player at any other position.

GETTING ALONG

One of the main reasons why the Eagles won the Super Bowl last season was unselfishness. Players bought into a team-first mentality, put personal goals aside and formed a strong bond. Chemistry is such a big deal for Philadelphia that the scouting department invests time and resources into making sure potential draft picks would fit in.

"I think that's one of the conversations that we probably have the most," Roseman said. "Background is really important. We've had some guys who've come here, who've maybe had a (bad) reputation and fit really well, and there's also the flip side of that. So you try to balance all of those and really rely on Coach Pederson and his leadership council and the ownership he gives them."

HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS

Wentz at No. 2 overall in 2016 is possibly the best pick in franchise history. Other hits over the past five drafts: RT Lane Johnson (No. 4 overall, 2013) and TE Zach Ertz (second round, 2013). Recent misses in the early rounds: LB Marcus Smith (No. 26 overall, 2014) and CB Eric Rowe (second round, 2015). Some of the best bargains were: CB Jalen Mills (seventh round, 2016) and OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (fifth round, 2016).

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

Updated April 25, 2018


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