It is never too early to look ahead to the next draft, as it is through the draft that great teams are built. Despite drastically improving the last two offseasons, the Eagles still have a great deal of work to do to continue to build a complete team and to remain in contention for years down the line.
A good NFL GM and head coach would already be keeping tabs on potential draft prospects for next season. Here are five players that the team is likely to keep its eyes on.
T.J. McDonald is the second best safety in the draft at the moment, and as he is likely to go anywhere from the 15th to 30th overall, this looks like a player the Eagles could potentially target.
McDonald does not look like an elite NFL safety, but he does have the physicality and quickness to keep up with most NFL tight ends and most NFL wide receivers (although he will likely struggle against elite players). McDonald is a decent tackler as well.
He could bolster a safety group that is a huge question mark going into 2012, and possibly will still be a question mark at the end of the season.
Eric Reid has quietly asserted himself as one of the best safeties in college football over the past couple of years. He is an excellent tackler and has great coverage abilities. Were there not already a decent amount of depth at this position, Reid could go higher. But he will likely be selected around the 10th overall pick.
While that may seem a bit high, the Eagles have not been shy to trade up in recent years. Trading all the way up to the 10th pick may seem foolish for a team that is expected to be much improved in 2012. However, if safety continues to be a weak link on the team, it is a possibility for head coach Andy Reid and GM Howie Roseman to at least consider.
Offensive line is always a need, especially when we consider Reid's tendencies to draft linemen high. In which case, Barrett Jones could be a great fit for this team.
Over the years, Jones has been placed at guard, tackle and center, and has played well at each position. He could be invaluable to an Eagles O-Line that, while much improved, still has holes.
Jones can go anywhere from 15th to 30th overall, expect the Eagles to keep tabs on him.
Alex Okafor has played both defensive tackle and defensive end, and looks like a very good prospect for the 2013 season. He racks up many tackles and is excellent at pressuring the quarterback. As the Eagles love drafting linemen, expect them to keep their eyes on Okafor.
Okafor, like the other prospects on this list, is a mid- to late first-round pick. There is no need to trade up for him, but if he falls into the Eagles' draft picks, expect them to consider him.
As linebacker has now become a big need for the Eagles, expect them to definitely consider Manti Te'o.
The Notre Dame senior is a tackling machine, registering 128 tackles last season and 133 the season before, as well as many tackles for loss.
While the Eagles bolstered their linebackers corps with good draft selections and the addition of former Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles can always use a young prospect to their linebackers corps. Te'o is a player with strong upside and can be a great player for many years to come.