As NFL teams embark on the annual offseason process of evaluating their existing personnel and identifying team needs, the landscape will be different this year.
With the absence of a collective bargaining agreement, teams will need to do it the old fashioned way.
Specifically, filling team needs will mostly have to come through trades and the draft since free agent movement will be very limited. Considering that NFL GM's have largely displaced the art of trading in a world cluttered with caponomics and combine rankings, it would be unreasonable to expect very many player-for-player trades.
Accordingly, this leads clubs back to the draft to fill current and future voids on their particular team.
This becomes even further refined for the Philadelphia Eagles who, like their brethren across the street, are likely staring at a relatively finite window of opportunity.
Barring a trade, Donovan McNabb is currently the team's starting quarterback. And at the age of 33, he projects to have three or four more years of prime production.
Additionally (as I detailed a few weeks ago in The Philadelphia Eagles: Seven Semi-Controversial Steps to a Super Bowl Title), despite a disappointing and revealing season ending, it seems that a handful of reinforcements could put the Eagles back into the Super Bowl mix.
So, simply put—the time is now.
With the clock ticking and the fanbase becomingly increasingly restless, the Eagles would be very wise to avoid projects in the draft and set their sights on players who can make an immediate impact.
Certainly, this equation could change significantly if the team decides to move McNabb and install Kevin Kolb as their starting QB.
But, with this situation yet to unfold, the assumption here is that McNabb will be behind center come September.
Right now, the team has the following picks: first round (24), second round (23), third round (6), third round (23), fourth round (23), fourth round (29), sixth round (31).
Considering team needs and the current scenario, here are the players that the Eagles should target in the upcoming draft.