The CBA is reborn on Easter Sunday. Teams waste little time, and free agents are signed at a fast and furious pace.
The Eagles quickly spend a large portion of their $40 million in cap space, signing Nnamdi Asomugha and Harvey Dahl and re-signing Quintin Mikell.
Three days later, Arizona realizes that John Skelton isn't the answer at quarterback. The Eagles receive the Cardinals' 2011 first round pick, 5th overall, in exchange for Kevin Kolb and a 2012 third round pick.
The next day, the Eagles simultaneously announce that they've signed Bruce Gradkowski as their new back-up quarterback and traded this year's 23rd overall pick to Oakland for the Raiders' 2012 first round pick. The Eagles are now ready to enter the draft secure in the knowledge that Al Davis and Jason Campbell will provide the Eagles with their quarterback of the future or at least provide the ammo necessary to move up and grab their favorite member of next year's bumper crop of QBs.
Going into the draft, Philadelphia's needs list is now narrowed down to the LB corps. Other areas to address include OL depth, DE depth, RB depth and possibly a kick returner.
The draft begins after the jump
5. Von Miller (OLB) Texas A&M: Is expected to start and make an immediate impact at what is now the Eagles' weakest position. However, there may be some growing pains as Miller adjusts from being the joker to playing as a 4-3 OLB in the NFL.
The Eagles trade their second round pick, 53rd overall, to Carolina for a third and a fourth round pick, 65th and 98th overall, respectively.
65. Stefen Wisniewski (C) Penn State: It's likely that Jamaal Jackson will start the season at center, if he's able to return to form. However, Wisniewski could earn the starting job before the season is over; he will be expected to step up as the Eagles' starting center no later than next season.
85. Quan Sturdivant (ILB) North Carolina: Sturdivant can deliver consistent production, which is very appealing, given the production that the Eagles got from their LBs last season.
98. Pernell McPhee (DE) Mississippi: Great run defender. McPhee is a very strong player who won't often elude blockers, but will be able to shed them.
104. Jamie Harper (RB) Clemson: Power runner with great hands. Could become a change of pace back without disrupting the RB's role in the passing game.
120. Demarcus Love (OT) Arkansas: Big, powerful, nasty lineman. With a year to develop under Howard Mudd, Love could enter next season starting at RT.
149. Cortez Allen (CB) Citadel: Hard-working, tall corner with quick feet. Has been favorably compared to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, albeit a less physical version.
154. Jeron Johnson (SS) Boise State: Very intense, physical player. Injuries may become an issue in the future due to his small stature and punishing style of play.
229. Ricardo Lockette (WR) Fort Valley State: If Lockette makes the team this year it would be as a returner. If he doesn't, but can improve his hands on the practice squad, he may return someday as an impact receiver.
237. Anthony Sherman (FB) UConn: Great backfield blocker with good hands.
240. Willie Smith (OT) East Carolina: Has the potential to develop into a top-flight LT, but will need considerable grooming to achieve that.
The free agent signings and the selection of Von Miller allowed the Eagles to tremendously improve all of their positions of need without financing the present at the expense of the future. Sturdivant could join Miller as a starter at LB this season or at the least provide depth to the Eagles' formerly weak LB corps.
McPhee could be first year contributor, especially if Brandon Graham is not ready to go at the start of the season, or provide depth to shallower areas with the upside of being a player who can be groomed into a starter.
Harper projects to become the change of pace back who will help keep LeSean McCoy fresh and healthy.
Allen could contribute in the secondary this year, but he will most likely spend this season learning from the best CB tandem in the business and might see some time in the nickel. When it comes time for a new CB to step up into the starting lineup, Allen should benefit greatly from this experience.
On the offensive line, Wisniewski could contribute this year, especially if Jackson is unable to return to starting form. Love is expected to spend this season continuing his development under the tutelage of Howard Mudd. The biggest gains from this draft may come in 2012, when Wisniewski and Love are expected to join Jason Peters, Todd Herremans and Dahl to create what could be a truly dominant offensive line.
Looking ahead to the 2012 draft, the Eagles will be well-positioned to move up to take their pick from next year's quarterback club.