With Chip Kelly now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the team likely shifting to a 3-4 defense under defensive coordinator Bill Davis and a slew of veterans already released or expected to be (cough, Nnamdi Asomugha, cough), the Eagles have plenty of positions that could be upgraded via the draft.
Will they start with quarterback?
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported on Monday that "multiple sources tell PFT that the Eagles were in Morgantown on Monday to work out West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. The contingency included owner Jeffrey Lurie, G.M. Howie Roseman and Kelly."
There will be a lot of talented players available to the Eagles with the fourth pick. Conceivably, they could upgrade at positions like offensive tackle, cornerback, outside linebacker or defensive tackle in the first round, all huge needs.
Players like tackle Eric Fisher, defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd or Star Lotulelei, cornerback Dee Milliner and outside linebackers Jarvis Jones, Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah or Barkevious Mingo might be available at No. 4. All would be major upgrades.
Smith may be the best quarterback on the board, but he isn't one of the 10 best players in this draft, at least not in my opinion. Selecting him at No. 4 would be a major reach, especially with Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon already on the roster.
Now, until free agency shakes itself out, we won't know what this Eagles' roster looks like heading into the draft. If the team addresses several big needs via free agency, our entire opinion of the team's draft needs will change.
For example, Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com) is reporting the team has interest in Jake Long:
Sheil Kapadia @SheilKapadia
.@AdamSchefter just mentioned the Eagles as one of the teams showing interest in Dolphins OT Jake Long.2013-3-12 16:08:25
Meanwhile, according to Reuben Frank of CSN Philly, the team is chasing free safeties LaRon Landry and Dashon Goldson. And you have to think the team will address the cornerback position in the draft.
That could make securing Smith as the long-term quarterback an appealing option, especially if the team plans on trading Foles.
More likely, the Eagles are simply trying to put it out there that they want Smith so that a team that actually covets the West Virginia quarterback—the Arizona Cardinals or Buffalo Bills come to mind as options—will overpay to trade up to the No. 4 spot.
But honestly, there are too many talented players—especially on the defensive side of the ball—for the Eagles to reach on Smith. There will be other quarterbacks, like E.J. Manuel, available in the second round and beyond.
I would be shocked if the Birds drafted Smith. It simply wouldn't be the smart move for a team with a lot of other holes to fill.