Internal changes were made, starting with the way the Eagles approached the NFL draft. General manager Howie Roseman was given, starting in April of 2012, control of the way things were done in the draft room.
The previous draft classes had produced limited hits, and that didn't sit well with the team.
Roseman, the general manager since 2010 but not given full authority in the draft, recognized the need for change.
“We had to look at ourselves and say, ‘What are we doing here? Why aren’t we getting great contributions from our draft picks?," he said.
With that, the Eagles went about the business of drafting in 2012 intent on taking the best players on their board in each round. There were too many "reaches" in previous seasons and, thus, too many misses.
In retrospect, 2012 started the turnaround for the team's on-field fortunes. The draft class produced starting defensive lineman
Third-round draft pick
Fourth-round draft pick
Seventh-round draft pick
Second-round draft pick
It's a fantastic draft class that, combined with the excellence from 2013 -- immediate contributions from offensive tackle
In addition to the strong showing on draft weekend in 2012, the Eagles earlier engineered a trade to acquire linebacker
Ryans, of course, has become the unquestioned leader of the Eagles locker room, and an extremely productive player who played more snaps than any defensive player in the league in 2013.
The Eagles largely stayed competitive in the years prior to 2012 despite many draft swings and misses. They made the postseason in 2009 and 2010, but failed to advance past the first round. They went big in the free agency period of 2011, but the chemistry problems and poor fits within the schemes from several of the players acquired undermined the "big-name" glamour of some of those signed.
It took a couple of years and an overhauling in the coaching staff and the personnel department around Roseman to get the Eagles headed back in a positive direction. By professional franchise standards, the dip in performance and the turnaround happened in a relatively short period of time. It's a mark of an outstanding program to bottom out as the Eagles did in 2011 and in 2012 and then to point the arrow up a season later.
Roseman is committed to keeping the same philosophy of taking the "best player" on the board when it comes time to draft. The lessons have been learned, and in the big picture we will look back at the 2012 offseason as the one that launched the Eagles back to the top of the NFC East.