Adapt or die.
Those infamous words uttered in the movie Moneyball by Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane (as played by Brad Pitt) about America’s national pastime could apply to America’s national obsession, football. And this year, perhaps no team epitomizes the choice between change and self-destruction more than the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hailed in the preseason as the Dream Team, week by week the 2012 Eagles became the Nightmare on Pattison. To dispel the haunting specter of a fumbling, failing season, Philadelphia has to prepare for its 2013 draft, where visions of plum draft picks dance in fans’ heads.
There was a good reason Michael Vick played every game wrapped in bulletproof Kevlar. He took a lot of shots.
The Eagles offensive line crumbled early this year, starting with center Jason Kelce's knee-injury and later with All-Pro offensive tackle Jason Peters' torn Achilles tendon. It is no secret the Eagles will approach 2013 with an offensive mindset from the coaching staff to their players.
Plucking from deep in the heart of Texas, the Eagles could vie for likely No. 1 draft pick Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. The 6'6" Joeckel became even more valuable after the Aggies beat the No. 1-ranked SEC Alabama.
If pocket protection is what Philadelphia craves, the athletic Joeckel could fill the belly of the Eagles Nation with possibilities.
Yet another SEC-grown option, Alabama 300-plus-pound offensive guard Chance Warmack has a reputation for creating a well-laid path for running backs.
As Philly uses its ground game as icing on the cake of its air game, players like Warmack can help to spread the sweetness by opening up the lanes for ball-carriers.
If LeSean McCoy is one of the Eagles' top weapons, someone like Warmack could be the trigger.
The 6'7", 310-pound, 11th-ranked player in this year’s draft, Lewan could fortify the essential wall around Philadelphia’s quarterback. The talented Lewan has shown impressive “lateral agility and strength,” according to Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com.
Still probing the deep skills of the SEC, it's noted that University of Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones leads the nation in average tackles for loss per contest and ranks second in sacks.
As a pass-rusher and tackle, Jones could bring a number of skills that were in short supply on the Eagles defense this season. The 250-pound Jones could end the famine of productive defensive plays in Philadelphia. Let the sack and tackle feast begin.
Considered one of the top defensive players in college football, linebacker Manti Te’o rides into the national championship game with the undefeated Irish.
Te’o has recorded 92 tackles this year, nearly twice as many as any other Notre Dame defender. If the Eagles are looking to strengthen the defensive side of their game, Te’o brings the weight of a tenacious winner.
In this corner, playing for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles, it will probably not be current cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who has failed to make a mark for the Eagles in any substantive way this season or last.
Leading the SEC in broken-up pass plays, Milliner is the top-rated corner in the country, according to NFLDraftScout.com.
The Eagles may want to roll out the welcome mat to this Tide super cornerback.