The 2022 NFL Draft is just two days away, and behind-the-scenes discussions could lead to excitement fit for Las Vegas on Thursday night.
One potential player in some primetime theatrics: The Philadelphia Eagleswho have two first-round picks and have been among the most notable teams making calls about moving up.
“Moving up is a fascinating one because you do wonder if the Eagles move up from 15 — of course they do have plenty of ammunition, two first-round picks — who would they be targeting?” NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said on Tuesday’s edition of NFL NOW. “Potentially, would a corner be someone they’d be targeting? Would it be an edge rusher? What if (Oregon edge rusher Kayvon) Thibodeaux slid? Lot of options here for the Philadelphia Eagles.
With an extra pick at its disposal thanks to the Carson Wentz trade from a year ago, Philadelphia seems to be in an ideal situation to possibly leap up in the draft order to take a player the club is coveting. The question, as Rapoport said, is who that player might be. This class is loaded with edge-rushing and receiving talent, and the Eagles have room to make quality additions at both spots.
Another team that could make some noise for a different reason is the Carolina Panthers, who owns the sixth-overall pick and has a clear need at quarterback in a draft that isn’t particularly strong at the position. Carolina could also use new talent at tackle, but if the top two tackles — Alabama’s Evan Neal and NC State’s Ickey Ekwonu, in no specific order — are both gone by the time the Panthers are on the clock, general manager Scott Fitterer might prefer to move back and pick up additional draft capital.
They also might not be alone in this approach.
“The Panthers at six, if the player, perhaps an offensive tackle they want, is not there, they’d be more than open to sliding back, picking up picks,” Rapoport said. “They have no second-, no third-rounder. Then of course, the Giants have two picks in the first round. Pretty clear they’d like to back up from the second pick.”
Tea New York Giants have multiple needs to address but are in an interesting spot at Nos. 5 and 7. The Giants are limited when it comes to available cap space ($5.5 million as of Tuesday, per Over The Cap), and selections at both spots would account for roughly $11 million in cap space in 2022. New York could very much use multiple first-round talents, but might have to find a way to blend need, salary constraints and preference for the best player available. A trade back would loosen the constraints of this situation, while also adding draft capital.
The general lesson learned from all of this: Despite a lack of quarterback buzz, we can expect some drama on Thursday night.