The hype surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles centers on which prospect the team will select fourth overall. It’s the highest the team has picked in the NFL draft since 1999 when Andy Reid made a slam-dunk with Donovan McNabb.
McNabb went to six Pro Bowls in 11 seasons with Philly, setting the stage for a team that reached the playoffs eight times under Reid and his franchise quarterback. Likewise, Chip Kelly could set the tone by making Geno Smith his future signal-caller.
But Kelly has more work to do than just his quarterback. The Eagles were 4-12 in 2012, losing 11 of their final 12 contests. The defense features six new starters from free agency, and the offensive line was plagued with injuries last season.
Picking well in his first draft will make Kelly’s Eagles much more competitive in the future. The key could be the late-round picks. Reid had some hits, as he chose Todd Herremans and Trent Cole in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. Those two are now the team’s longest-tenured players. Other players like Quintin Mikell and David Akers, each of whom were undrafted, became focal points on the roster.
The Eagles would be wise to take a good look at the following 12 players. Each could probably be obtained in the third round or later, but they could make a long-term impact on the Birds.