In no other league is it easier for a franchise to rebound than the NFL. With the right draft picks the Philadelphia Eagles could find themselves back in playoff contention due to a relatively weaker division than normal.
This season, the Eagles find themselves with eight draft picks. The Eagles therefore have plenty of opportunity to acquire talent. Even late-round picks can reveal themselves to be good players, such as Trent Cole.
Here would be the smartest decisions the Eagles could make at each of their draft selections...
It's tempting for the Eagles to select Luke Joeckel, as they are desperate to rebuild their O-line. But when the entire defense needs playmakers, it's more important to take the best player available.
Luke Joeckel also may not be available by now, as Reid is in Kansas City and has a tendency to select linemen. If he does not select Joeckel, he will select Geno Smith. Star Lotulelei will likely go third overall to the Oakland Raiders.
Te'o is simply the best value pick the Eagles could make with their top-five pick. Alongside the veteran DeMeco Ryans and the young, talented Mychal Kendricks, Te'o would give the Eagles one of the best linebacker corps in the NFL.
Even though the Eagles O-line should be improved next year, with key players Jason Peters and Jason Kelce both returning, the O-line play was too bad in 2012 for the Eagles not to select an O-lineman in the top two rounds.
Barrett Jones would be the perfect selection here. Although Jones mostly plays center, he is versatile and can really play any position on the O-line. Should Kelce and Peters struggle upon returning, Jones could fill in for them.
If Kelce and Peters return at near full strength, Jones can move to right tackle, which would allow Todd Herremans to be moved back to the inside at right guard. An awful Eagles O-line could be drastically improved by just one draft selection.
If Desmond Trufant is still available at this point in the draft, the Eagles must consider him.
Trufant is an impressive athlete, possessing great speed and instincts. He has experience in both zone and man coverage schemes. Nnamdi Asomugha was burned consistently for deep touchdown passes this season, and having a player with Trufant's speed would cut down on big plays given up through the air.
Although, Trufant is not the best tackler. He and Rodgers-Cromartie (if he is retained) would have to improve in that area, but a player of his athleticism should not be ignored.
Safety is also a position that the Eagles desperately must upgrade. Despite making the secondary a priority in the 2011 offseason, the Eagles had possibly one of the worst secondaries in the NFL in 2012.
Neither Nate Allen nor Kurt Coleman look like the answer in Philly. A safety must be selected at one point in the draft.
While Robert Lester does not possess elite athleticism, he makes up for it with overall solid fundamentals. He has a long body and is excellent at pass deflections. His strong work ethic also makes him a good locker room presence.
Due to the weakness of the Eagles O-line, when in doubt, the Eagles should load up on O-linemen at least for depth reasons. Xavier Nixon would be a bit of a risk, but he could be an effective player.
Nixon has a great deal of talent, looking great as a freshman, but being hindered by injuries in other years. He has a very large frame, and with the right coaching could become a suitable starter in the NFL.
Aaron Mellette might be one of the most underrated wide receivers in the 2013 draft. He hasn't generated much attention due to the fact that he plays for Elon, not a big-name school. But Mellette's stats are astounding, having caught 97 passes for 1,398 yards and 18 touchdowns in 11 games.
And it's not just his stats. Mellette stands at an impressive 6'3" and 218 pounds. He could be the red-zone threat the Eagles have been looking for.
The Eagles need to increase the competition at the safety position, and selecting Jordan Kovacs would be their best course of action.
Kovacs is a very aggressive player who is a great downhill runner. He fills in lanes well and is good in run-support. He is weaker in coverage but could potentially make up for that with his great tackling.
Travis Howard has a tremendous amount of potential and could be a steal in the seventh round. He lacks some overall game awareness, not always knowing exactly how much cushion to leave. He also hits more often than he should when he should wrap up more.
However, Howard is a physical player and has a good amount of speed. He defends against the run very aggressively. He is also fairly large, being 6'0" and 196 pounds, which would be a great fit as the Eagles prefer larger corners.
He could potentially compete with another drafted CB or even DRC for a starting CB spot.