One of the perks (if you want to look at it that way) of having a bad record is that you get a high draft pick and are able to choose from among a large group of top college players.
It's been awhile since the Eagles have had a pick this high, as their 4-12 record in 2012 was the worst in Andy Reid's 14 seasons as head coach. Based on that finish, Philadelphia ended up with the fourth pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
With only three teams (Kansas City, Jacksonville and Oakland) ahead of them in the pecking order, the Eagles will have quite the cast to select from when they are on the clock on April 25.
With that in mind, here's a look at seven players who could possibly fill in the blank when the commissioner walks to the podium and announces, "With the fourth pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select ___________."
But what if the Chiefs pass on Joeckel and he is available for the Eagles? While the offensive line may not be the most pressing need for the Eagles, Joeckel looks to be a big-time prospect, maybe even better than Matt Kalil, who went fourth overall in last year's draft.
Joeckel would give the Eagles some much-needed depth at tackle. Demetress Bell was a complete bust and will not be back in 2013. Jason Peters is coming off rupturing his Achilles twice last offseason, plus he is starting to get up in age.
This would be the classic "best player available" pick.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent, and Nnamdi Asomugha, who is owed over $15 million in 2013, could be released this offseason after two down-years as an Eagle, though defensive scheme may be to blame for Asomugha's subpar play.
After those two, the only corner the Eagles should feel pretty good about is Brandon Boykin, who may have played the best among the three. Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes have flashed potential, but the Eagles may still have to add a new starting cornerback, as it is likely that they will not be able to keep both Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie next season.
Enter Milliner, a shutdown-type corner who could step right in and start for Chip Kelly opposite whomever.
Milliner was targeted a ton in the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame, and time after time he made play after play.
Milliner has the ability to go one-on-one with No. 1 receivers, which is especially vital in the NFC East, where he would have to face Dez Bryant and Hakeem Nicks twice a year each.
Any defensive tackle who can play in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 is a very valuable one. And with the Eagles still not officially committed (but likely changing) to a 3-4, Lotulelei would be quite a pick for the Eagles.
If the Eagles stay in a 4-3, Lotulelei could form a solid defensive tackle pairing with 2012 first-rounder Fletcher Cox. If they switch to a 3-4, Lotulelei could also form a nice tandem with Cox, with both playing end, or Lotulelei could kick inside and play nose tackle, with Cullen Jenkins playing end.
Either way, a strong run-stopper who is so versatile would be extremely hard to pass up with the fourth pick, based on value.
Let's say the Chiefs let tackle Branden Albert walk this offseason, and they draft Joeckel with the first pick, but the Eagles still want to consider an offensive tackle. Well, lucky for them, there is another top-10 player who plays the position: Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.
Fisher really made a name for himself, and may have locked up his status as a top-10 draft pick, with his performance in Mobile at the Senior Bowl.
As with Joeckel, if the Eagles choose Fisher, they will be adding some needed depth at tackle, as well as their possible left tackle of the future.
There is even a chance that the Eagles will draft Fisher with Joeckel still on the board. Either way, keep Fisher's name in the back of your mind.
Just look at that belly.
It's been quite some time—since 1997, to be exact—since an offensive guard has been taken in the top 10. There's a very good chance (pun intended) that this will change in 2013.
Warmack is a 320-pound tank who will bowl over anything that gets in his way. Just look what he did to Manti Te'o and the Notre Dame defense in the BCS Championship Game. Alabama's Eddie Lacy had holes big enough for even Andre the Giant to run through. Now imagine LeSean McCoy running through those same holes.
Danny Watkins looks like a first-round bust, and Evan Mathis and Nate Menkin are the only other guards currently under contract for 2013. The question for the Eagles is: Would they be willing to spend the fourth overall pick on a guard?
There is also the matter of deciding who will be the quarterback to run Chip Kelly's system. Do the Eagles keep Michael Vick? Do they roll with Nick Foles? Trade for Alex Smith? Even Dennis Dixon has been rumored as a possible option.
As far as draft quarterbacks go, Geno Smith is really the only logical choice in terms of both value and system fit. Smith would give Kelly yet another athletic quarterback, just like his former quarterbacks at Oregon, such as Darron Thomas, Dixon, and Marcus Mariota.
Many draft pundits think the Chiefs will name Smith as the successor to Matt Cassel, but the Eagles are certain to take a look at Smith should he fall past Kansas City, and should they decide to move on from Vick and Foles.
I mention Jones as an option because his former defensive coordinator at Georgia is still in the running to be named Philadelphia's defensive coordinator. In fact, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora believes such, tweeting this on Wednesday:
In regards to that Grantham interview wi/ Saints, I continue to hear the Georgia DC could end up with the Eagles. Chip Kelly thinks highly— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora), February 6, 2013
Grantham could possibly take his college outside linebacker to add some pass rush to the new-look Eagles' 3-4. Jones could rotate with Trent Cole and Brandon Graham on the outside.
Of course, all this depends on how he checks out with his spinal stenosis.
These seven players are likely to be at the top of the Eagles draft board. But what say you? Is there a player not listed here whom you would like to see Philadelphia draft? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments section.