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Birds Could Still Trade Up, Not Necessarily For QB

Apr 17, 2012, 3:21 PM EDT

The Eagles might be interested in trading up in the first round of next Thursday's draft, but QB Ryan Tannehill may not be the target after all.

As we suggested over the weekend, perhaps the Eagles did not flatly deny a rumor about their interest in trading for the fourth pick in next week’s NFL Draft because they are, in fact, attempting to move up. And while the cost of climbing up to fourth overall is still probably too rich for management’s blood, the Cleveland Browns aren’t the only team that might be looking to move out of the top 10.

A Tuesday report issued by Sports Illustrated’s Terry Pauline on the site TFY Draft Insider reaffirmed rumors that the Eagles are indeed working the phones, testing the waters for potential trading partners. However, it’s not Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill they are thought to be pursuing, but instead it’s defensive tackle Fletcher Cox out of Mississippi State, who many analysts believe is the top interior lineman available.

The Eagles frequently have been linked to defensive tackles in many mock drafts, and local writers in particular have overwhelmingly made the position a favorite for the club’s first round pick. The Birds are seldom content to simply wait for a player to fall into their laps though, and if the war room agrees with the sentiment Cox is the best interior lineman in this draft, you can bet they will make every effort to go get him.

A healthy number of mocks have the first defensive tackle coming off the board by the Carolina Panthers’ pick at number nine, which is either Cox or Dontari Poe out of Memphis. If either is a target, Philly will likely have to jump up to seven, where the Jacksonville Jaguars are thought to be willing to move down.

Over the weekend, a report indicated the Eagles were in discussions with the Cleveland Browns for the fourth pick, though a team source told Rebuen Frank that was unlikely. Recently there were whispers they had also contacted the St. Louis Rams about the second pick in the draft, which was eventually traded to the Redskins, with the conversation described as due diligence.

Whatever the Eagles are really up to here, they seem to have everybody guessing, which is always a good thing this time of year. I don’t think you can really rule anything out completely, whether that’s trading up for a quarterback or defensive tackle, or sitting back and choosing the best player available. They have plenty of flexibility with their first round pick this year, and they appear it to their advantage.