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How the Eagles can help themselves in the draft by defeating the Saints in Week 17

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PHILADELPHIA — Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints has implications beyond this season, thanks to a draft night deal last April that sent New Orleans’ 2023 first-round pick to Philadelphia.

That first round player has a 71% chance of being a top 10 pick, according to ESPN Analytics. This week’s results will not only help shape the playoff picture – Philly can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win, while a Saints loss would help keep their slim playoff chances alive – but will help dictate where the selection will arrive. . ESPN’s current projected draft order has the Eagles ranked 10th.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said the focus is only on the game, but added, “It will be nice if we can go out there and get this win, and after we make the draft pick later on, we can say to ourselves, ‘ Well, that really helped us.'”

In the trade, the Saints received two 2022 first-round picks (No. 16 and No. 19) and a 2022 sixth-round pick (No. 194), while the Eagles received a 2022 first-round pick (No. 18). , a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 second-round pick — plus a 2022 third-round pick (No. 101) and a seventh-round pick (No. 237).

The Eagles turned around and sent the #18 and #101 picks to the Tennessee Titans for standout AJ Brown.

The Saints struck a deal with the Washington Commanders to move up from No. 16 for No.

ESPN Saints reporter Katherine Terrell and Eagles reporter Tim McManus take a closer look at early returns and how the trade will affect each team’s preliminary plans for 2023.

Why did they make the deal in the first place?

Eagles: They had three first-round draft picks before the trade and wanted to spread the wealth. There were those who thought they could use those assets to acquire a veteran quarterback, but nothing has changed. Feeling good about what Jalen Hurts showed them in his first full year as a starter, the front office was able to use some of their recruiting capital on players that could immediately help – they moved up to take Georgia’s defensive tackle, Jordan Davis, 13th overall and traded to Brown – while still preparing well for the next draft.

“We’re excited about Jalen Hurts, we’re going to support Jalen, and we want him to have a great career in Philadelphia. It was about flexibility for our team and making sure we had the resources to improve our team for not just this year’s draft, but the 2019 draft. next year going forward,” said General Manager Howie Roseman. “We thought it made a lot of sense.”

saints: The Saints entered the offseason feeling they had another chance at the playoffs, even as former head coach Sean Payton stepped down in January. They operated as usual, holding off their salary cap issues for another season and signing quarterback Jameis Winston with the idea that they could make another run. The Saints have repeatedly said that it was not a rebuilding year and even kept almost exactly the same team as the year before.

They made the move for two reasons: Getting a receiver to pair with Michael Thomas (coveting Olave in particular) and grabbing their left tackle of the future to replace Terron Armstead. Moving from No. 18 to No. 16 and No. 19 allowed them to go up again with another trade to get Olave, which was part of the “win now” idea they operated for several years. Being able to get Penning was just a bonus. It was clear now that the Saints needed a quarterback as well, but no one seemed to think much of the class at the time, as no quarterback left the board until the Pittsburgh Steelers took Kenny Pickett – who was the only QB taken in the first two rounds – in 20.

How were the negotiation results for each side?

eagles: Brown, selected to his second Pro Bowl this season, helped take the Eagles offense to another level. Entering Week 17, he ranks fourth in receiving yards (1,304), is tied for second in receiving touchdowns (10), and with 80 receptions, he is nine receptions short of a new franchise mark for a season.

His presence helped boost the game of his good friend Hurts, who is averaging 10.35 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns to two interceptions when throwing in Brown’s direction. The Eagles used the 237th overall pick acquired from the Saints as part of a package to move up and take linebacker/special teams contributor Kyron Johnson in the sixth round.

And now, all eyes are on the first round of 2023.

saints: Olave more than proved why the saints wanted him so much. He has 63 receptions for 940 yards and three touchdowns despite missing two games, and could be Thomas’ eventual replacement instead of playing alongside him after Thomas missed most of the season. Penning’s development has been slower, as he spent most of the season on the injured reserve and is now picking up more playing time each week.

The problem is, neither has helped the Saints (6-9) to a winning record, which goes to show how much the Saints need to fill some other gaps, including quarterback. That makes the loss of a first-round pick hurt even more, and the Saints’ other trade to the Eagles in preseason probably just makes things hurt a little more. New Orleans sent defensive back CJ Gardner-Johnson, whose six interceptions are tied for the most in the NFL this season, and a 2025 seventh-round pick, to Philadelphia for a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick. .

How will the trade affect future drafts?

eagles: Projected to have a top-10 pick in what is considered a quarterback-rich draft class, Philadelphia could find itself in a high-leverage situation. There could be multiple teams looking to break into the top 10 to try and get their signal caller of the future. If that’s the case, the Eagles could reap a hefty return if they decide to trade. The other option would be to sit back and grab the best player available. The offensive and defensive line is always at the top of the priority list with this organization, while the defensive backfield needs some attention with cornerback James Bradberry and Gardner-Johnson both set to become free agents after the season.

Roseman has made it a practice lately to put assets into future drafts, and that could be in the cards again here too. He already has one more second round in 2024 as a result of the Saints trade.

saints: This is one of the worst years for the Saints to lose a first-round pick, considering they don’t have a long-term solution at quarterback. Winston struggled before being sidelined with injury before 35-year-old Andy Dalton replaced him. Dalton remained in the starting lineup even after Winston returned from his injury, but Dalton was signed in the offseason for a year. Their salary cap issues haven’t gone away either, giving them little capital to find a long-term solution. That makes the quarterback position a huge unanswered problem, and unless another team gives up a first-round pick for the rights to sign Payton in the offseason, they could struggle to resolve that issue any time soon.

While it’s possible that Olave and Penning will become key players in the team for years to come, it won’t matter much if they can’t find a quarterback and fix other problems in what is becoming an aging defensive roster. side.