Despite a dismal 4-12 season in 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles have lots of room for optimism heading into 2013.
It begins with new head coach Chip Kelly, who established himself as an offensive genius while at the University of Oregon. Kelly inked a five-year deal as the team's new head coach in January.
Kelly did an impressive job of adding a number of potential starters in 2013 through the early days of free agency, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
But don't be fooled. The Eagles still have many holes. Right now, they look like a seven- or eight-win team, but a solid draft could turn them into a potential playoff contender this season.
The following slides will highlight the best available player for the Eagles at each position. With the fourth overall pick, the Eagles should be able to grab at least one of these players.
Just about every team seems to have a different opinion on Geno Smith. It's difficult to tell how the Eagles feel, but it's become apparent that they're definitely interested, maybe very interested.
According to the team's official website, Smith is the player most often mocked to the Eagles with the fourth overall pick.
Kelly could be eyeing Smith, but he also may be interested in a quarterback such as EJ Manuel or Ryan Nassib in the early second round.
One thing is for sure, though. The Eagles need to add another quarterback to push veteran Michael Vick for the starting job.
With LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown at running back, there's almost no chance the Eagles will pull the trigger for a running back with a first- or second-round pick.
But if Eddie Lacy falls farther than expected, there definitely exists a possibility that Kelly will look to snatch up the big Alabama running back.
Lacy is a powerful between-the-tacklers runner. He's a gifted receiver, just like McCoy, and he has solid blocking skills. Those are all skills Kelly highly values, making him a tremendous potential fit for the Eagles.
Tavon Austin would be a dream come true in the Eagles offense.
The small, extremely quick receiver is exactly the type of player Kelly would look to utilize. He's similar to Percy Harvin and Philly's own DeSean Jackson, with tremendous speed and the ability to handle touches out of the backfield. He can also return punts.
Austin is a likely pick in the middle of the first round. The Eagles almost certainly won't pick him as high as pick No. 4, so they'd have to make a big trade if they wanted him.
Tyler Eifert could be drafted anywhere from near the top 10 in the first round to the top of the second round. If he's still around when the Eagles make their second-round pick, they would be absolutely foolish to pass him up.
Eifert has excellent size and tremendous hands. He's made strides as a blocker and would project as an immediate playmaker, especially in Kelly's offense.
With the recent struggles of veteran tight end Brent Celek, Eifert could take the starting job away as early as training camp, should he somehow fall to the Eagles (or be acquired in a draft-day trade).
Luke Joeckel is easily the best player in the entire draft. Surprisingly, he actually has a pretty good chance at falling to the Eagles with the fourth pick. The Kansas City Chiefs would have to select tackle Eric Fisher with the first overall pick, a definite possibility. Then the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders would have to choose from such options as Dion Jordan, Sharrif Floyd and Geno Smith.
If the Eagles grab Joeckel with the fourth pick, they're getting a steal. Joeckel is the type of player who can start at left or right tackle for the next 10-plus seasons. He could enable the Eagles to move veteran Todd Herremans back to his natural position of guard, which in turn sends bust first-round pick Danny Watkins to his rightful spot on the bench.
Alabama guard Chance Warmack might be the best offensive guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson more than a decade ago.
Like Joeckel, Warmack is the type of player who could be plugged into the offensive line immediately, where he'll likely play 10-plus years with multiple Pro Bowl selections.
The big question for the Eagles is whether they want to make the unprecedented move to select a guard fourth overall. Right guard is the biggest need on their offense, other than quarterback, but guards just don't go as high as fourth overall.
The Eagles wouldn't use a high draft pick on a center unless Jason Kelce suffered a serious setback in his ACL recovery. Last year's starter of 14 games, Dallas Reynolds, proved to be an extremely poor fit and a major liability on offense.
Barrett Jones, also an Alabama grad, is the top-rated center in the draft, but he possesses the ability to play all five positions on the offensive line. Kelly loves versatility, meaning Jones would be an ideal fit on an offensive line that looks to rebound from a disastrous 2012 campaign.
With the Eagles likely switching to a variation of the 3-4 defense in 2013, they're going to need a more reliable nose tackle than veteran free-agent signee Isaac Sopoaga, who turns 32 at the start of next year.
Lotulelei is the best defensive lineman in the draft, according to some experts, and he would be a tremendous option on the Eagles defensive line. Pair Star Lotulelei at nose tackle and last year's first-round pick Fletcher Cox at defensive end and you'd have two-thirds of a very impressive defensive line, a necessity in a division that features three above-average quarterbacks.
The Florida junior is one of the fastest rising defensive players in most mock drafts, as he's now been regarded as a very likely top-five pick by most experts.
That gives the Eagles a very legitimate chance of selecting him. They're looking for more help on the defensive line, and Floyd would be a great fit as a 3-4 defensive end, especially when paired with Fletcher Cox.
One of the more explosive players in the draft, Dion Jordan is an extremely likely candidate for the Eagles with the fourth overall pick. The obvious link between him and the Eagles is his college, as he attended the University of Oregon.
Jordan would play outside linebacker in the Eagles 3-4 defense, where he would immediately add a toughness that was missing on the 2012 team. He's regarded as the top pass-rusher in the draft, and sacks were a major problem for the Eagles last season.
Don't be surprised to see the Jaguars snatch him up with the second pick, however, preventing him from even falling to the Eagles.
A number of mock drafts have predicted the Alabama cornerback to be selected by the Eagles with the fourth overall pick.
Dee Milliner, easily the top corner in the draft, is a tough and physical player with excellent coordination and awareness. He would likely be an immediate starter on the 2013 defense, meaning free-agent acquisitions Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher would compete for the other starting spot at corner.
The big question is whether Milliner is good enough to warrant the highest selection for a cornerback since Charles Woodson in 1997.
The top-rated safety in the draft, Kenny Vaccaro is an unlikely fit for the Eagles, as he'll undoubtedly be selected in the middle of the first round. Barring a trade, he won't be in Philly in 2013.
That's a shame, because Vaccaro would be the team's best safety since (at least) Quintin Mikell. He's not a ball hawk (like Mikell), but he's physical and has good size.
He'd be an immediate starter, allowing Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung to duke it out for the other starting spot at safety.