Philadelphia Eagles News

With 4th Pick In The NFL Draft ...

The question being asked constantly is this: Who are the Eagles going to take at No. 4 in the first round?

It's impossible to answer now, of course. What happens in free agency will help determine the course of action. How the Eagles evaluate the top of the draft board is going to change between now and then. And what the three teams in front of Philadelphia -- Kansas City, Jacksonville, Oakland -- do is obviously going to dictate some of the action.

The fourth pick in the draft is the stuff for conversation during these slow days as we wait for the Eagles to announce their coaching staff. Truth is, the Eagles could use a standout talent at just about every position other than maybe running back. Other than LeSean McCoy, is there a player on this roster who you would say is a can't-touch player? It would be fair to argue that left tackle Jason Peters is in that category, but he's coming off the Achilles tendon injury and, while the prognosis is exceedingly optimistic, you just never know with that kind of injury.

So we can rule out running back at No. 4 and feel like we can at least get that much right. Anything else, as I see it, is on the table. The Eagles could trade and move up in the draft. They could get out of No. 4 and move down the first-round ladder.

Or they could stay at 4 and take the "best player available." You wanna tell me who that might be?

Could it be a pass-rushing linebacker? Sure, and the Eagles could use a difference-making pass rusher, that's for certain. Could it be a stud offensive lineman? Absolutely. Add a piece like that to a line that expects a healthy Peters, a ready-to-go Todd Herremans and a 100 percent Jason Kelce to starting left guard Evan Mathis and the Eagles might have something really special up front.

How about a top-shelf defensive linemen? It's a need. The best cornerback in the draft? Bring him in to help a secondary that was in tatters by the end of the 2012 season.

And how about a quarterback? It is certainly possible, given the fact that we just don't know how Chip Kelly feels about the position as it is currently constructed.

What's really interesting to anticipate is the plan of attack the Eagles are going to have to make strides in the months ahead. The 4-12 nightmare of 2012 left a number of roster question marks, and the Eagles are at least in the fortunate position of having some flexibility to rebuild the team. They can clear plenty of cap space without breaking much of a sweat, but how deep into free agency does the team want to go after the approach backfired in these last couple of seasons?

I don't have answers, but I certainly share the same questions, and then some. We're kind of in a holding pattern with the team. The coaches and personnel department return from the Senior Bowl practices and simultaneously dig deeper into their evaluation of the roster, sharpen their draft-board grades and begin to formulate the plan of attack for the post-Super Bowl offseason.

At the top of the list for Eagles fans is the draft and what the team's plans are for that fourth overall selection. It's a great opportunity to find some instant impact, and everyone has an opinion on what the Eagles should do. Me? I just want the Eagles to find a great player and it doesn't really matter at what position he plays. This team needs more blue-chip talent. The Pro Bowl will be played this weekend without any Eagles representation, and that means something.

Who will they take a 4? We won't know for a few months, but that won't stop Eagles fans from discussing, debating and dissecting the possibilities ahead.

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