Teams need QBs, so Eagles' 23rd pick is hot commodity

Posted: April 28, 2011

IF NOT FOR the NFL's labor issues, tonight would be glorious night for Eagles fans.

Imagine the boys at the Nova-Care Complex trading Kevin Kolb to one of the many quarterback-needy teams in the top 10. Imagine them getting their hands on Cincinnati's pick at No. 4 or Arizona's at No. 5 or San Francisco's at No. 7, and walking away with one of the draft's big prizes.

Maybe cornerback Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara. Maybe offensive tackle Tyron Smith or Anthony Castonzo. Maybe defensive end Robert Quinn or Aldon Smith.

Because the NFL still isn't officially open for business, though, all you can do is imagine it. Instead, what you're probably going to see the Eagles do tonight is, well, nothing.

They currently have the 23rd pick in tonight's first round, but there's a pretty good chance they'll never use it. There's a pretty good chance they'll be trading out of the first round for the third time in 5 years.

With so many teams needing quarterbacks, there is expected to be a feeding frenzy for them down in the bottom third of the first round, as teams at the top of the second round try to trade up for a quarterback. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has made it clear that the 23rd pick is for sale.

"We're in a great place in the draft for somebody to get some of those quarterbacks," Roseman said. "If they want a quarterback and they want to make sure they get the one they want, I think [the 23rd pick] is an area you can come and move to."

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock expects eight quarterbacks to be taken in the first three rounds for the first time in history.

"Seven of the top 10 teams [in the draft] need quarterbacks," Mayock said. "The last several years, teams traded back into the first round to get a quarterback. I think that's going to happen again this year."

There haven't been more than three quarterbacks taken in the first round since 2004, when four went: Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and J.P. Losman. There haven't been more than four taken since the famous 1983 John Elway-Jim Kelly-Dan Marino draft when six went off the board in the first round.

Mayock doesn't have any of this draft's quarterbacks rated as high as he had Sam Bradford last year or Matt Ryan the year before. But he has four with first-round grades: Cam Newton (Auburn), Blaine Gabbert (Missouri), Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) and Jake Locker (Washington). Mallett has off-the-field issues and Locker has accuracy issues, which could cause both to slide. After them, there is another group of four quarterbacks - Andy Dalton (TCU), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) and Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) - that Mayock has second-round grades on.

But with teams at the top of the second round like the Bills (34th overall), Bengals (35), Broncos (36), Cardinals (38), Titans (39), Redskins (41) and Vikings (43) all needing quarterbacks, some likely will be willing to trade up and reach.

"It's awfully hard to sit there and say, 'Well, there's a guy in the second round we like and we'll get him.' Because you don't know. He may not be there. Especially this year," said former NFL general manager Charley Casserly, an analyst for the NFL Network. "You can only really control as much as you can control - the first round."

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