Only a few key Eagles personnel know the contents of those secrets, of the various scenarios they have prepared over these many offseason weeks. The work really began shortly after the 2010 draft as general manager Howie Roseman organized his college scouting department and then marched through the laborious process of winnowing the prospect list to reach this point.
It is upon us, then. The NFL draft beckons.
The Eagles have 10 draft picks and scads of options. They are annual movers and shakers, of course, and with a roster they feel is pretty darn solid, they are going to have opportunities to move all around the draft.
The needs are fairly well established, at least from this perspective: The defense needs impact throughout, particularly in the back four, and the offensive line needs improvement on the right side. With 10 picks, the Eagles will have ample chance to address those positions.
And much, much more.
Now, with Wednesday night's ruling by Judge Susan Nelson denying the NFL's request to stay her earlier ruling that the work stoppage has ended, there is more swirling. Could the league open its business year for the draft? Would trades be permitted? Is free agency on the verge of starting?
These are all questions that have no answers. Not yet. But the next few days -- indeed, few hours -- are expected to be wild, unprecedented and extremely nerve-wracking for everyone as the league looks for a stay in appeals court.
All of those uncertainties cloud the only certainty: The draft opens at 8 p.m. and the Eagles have 10 draft picks, including the 23rd overall. Where they will go in round one on Thursday night is anyone's guess.
They have a name they are targeting, no question about it. Probably more than one. Probably a handful of names. And then if a player they have highly rated slips into the teens, as Jeremy Maclin did a few years ago, every plan blows up and they alter course.
Is there any event that is as much fun as the draft? We tune in (PhiladelphiaEagles.com is live at 8 p.m. on Thursday) and watch and speculate and wonder if the players we have heard so much about over the last few months are "good fits" for the teams we love.
In the case of the Eagles, there is absolutely no need to reach for a player. The Eagles have a lot of draft picks and all of free agency -- which could come sooner rather than later -- to make this roster complete, to prepare for a Super Bowl run.
So where will the Eagles go in the first round? Good question. I wish I knew. Everyone says the draft is loaded with strong defensive linemen, so that seems a logical place to start. There are a handful of standout offensive linemen, and that is always a maybe for Andy Reid and the Eagles. Cornerback Jimmy Smith has been linked to the Eagles in recent mock drafts.
Isn't that the perfect setup for a completely out-of-the-box move by Reid and Roseman?
Could be. Maybe not. All I know is that I've been waiting forever for some action in this offseason and I have been as frustrated as anyone by the work stoppage and concerned about the next steps for the 2011 season. For a weekend, at the very least, we return to normal. We can enjoy the scrutiny of the draft.
I look forward to spending every minute of it with you on Eagles Draft Live!, presented by Dietz and Watson. It's going to be a blast, and it's going to set up the rest of the months ahead as the Eagles add to a roster that won the NFC East last year.
Good luck to everyone and let's see how the Eagles' plans unfold after months of preparation.