Chip Kelly

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly speaks during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Matt Rourke

Of the 125 players former Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid drafted during his 14-year tenure, his first pick was his best.

He used the second overall selection in the 1999 draft to choose quarterback Donovan McNabb, ignoring fans who were clamoring for running back Ricky Williams.

McNabb turned out to be the cornerstone of a decade-long streak of success for the Eagles. From 2000-2009, the team made eight playoff appearances, won five NFC East titles, reached five NFC championship games and played in the Super Bowl in the 2004 season.

Now it's new coach Chip Kelly's turn to rebuild the Eagles.

As a result of last season's 4-12 record, the Eagles hold the No. 4 pick in this year's draft, which begins tonight with the first round. Unless they move down via trade, the Eagles will pick in the top 10 for the first time since they took defensive tackle Corey Simon at No. 6 in 2000 and in the top five for the first time since McNabb was drafted.

"I don't look at this as a defining moment of what we're doing here," Kelly said earlier this month. "I'm not that deep. We're just trying to get the best player we can and come out of (the draft) with the best players we can. You could say this is your signature draft if it's your only draft. But I plan on being here more than one year, so our whole goal (for the draft) is how we can improve this football team."

Unlike last year, when quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were clear-cut favorites to be the top picks, there are no concrete choices tonight.

Whom the Eagles take at No. 4 - assuming they stay at that spot - will depend on whom Kansas City, Jacksonville and Oakland grab with the top three picks. Ironically, Reid has the No. 1 choice as the Chiefs' new head coach.

"This is a critical draft for us coming off a four-win season," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "When you're picking at No. 4, you have to be confident in the players that are going to be there. When you're picking that high, you'd better get the right player. But you also have to stay true to your (draft board) and not try to force anything to fill a need. We're going to take the best player available."

The Eagles expressed a lot of interest in West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith - Kelly, Roseman and even owner Jeffrey Lurie attended his pro day workout - but are not likely to take him that high. They already have quarterbacks Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne on the roster. If they draft a quarterback, they are more apt to take Florida State's E.J. Manuel or Syracuse's Ryan Nassib in the second round.

"I don't think there is an Andrew Luck or RG3 or someone you can say is going to be a 10-year All Pro this year," Kelly said. "As a matter of fact, I don't think there's a can't-miss player no matter who you take."

Six other players have emerged as stronger candidates for the Eagles at that No. 4 spot.

Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher and Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson are regarded as the best of a deep crop of offensive linemen. Reid is expected to take one of them at No. 1. One of the others could fall to the Eagles.

"This is a meat-and-potatoes draft," Roseman said. "There are some really talented offensive linemen. I think it's hard to find really big men who can move, so when you get those guys, it's not like you're projecting as much. When you're in the college game, and you're an offensive lineman, you're doing all the same things you're going to have to do in the NFL game."

Florida defensive tackle/end Sharrif Floyd, Oregon defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan and Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei are also possibilites for the Eagles, though at least two of them could be taken in the top three.

Floyd, a Philadelphia native, would seem to be an ideal choice. Jordan played for Kelly at Oregon. Lotulelei would provide some much-needed depth in the interior defensive line.

"There are some really talented defensive linemen in this draft," Roseman said. "It's hard to find guys who can move and play with power."

There is also a possibility that the Eagles could move down in the first round in order to acquire additional draft picks in the later rounds. They currently have just nine choices this year, including four seventh-round picks.

If they drop into the middle of the round, they may be in position to draft Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, Alabama guard Chance Warmack or North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper.

Milliner likely would be an immediate starter for a secondary that dismissed cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Warmack played for new Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland in college.

"No matter what, we just want to make sure we get the right player," Roseman said.

Dave weinberg's prediction: Eagles stay at No. 4 and draft Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah

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Eagles' top draft picks under Andy Reid

1999: Donovan McNabb, quarterback, Syracuse (No. 2 overall)

2000: Corey Simon, defensive tackle, Florida State (No. 6)

2001: Freddie Mitchell, wide receiver, UCLA (No. 25)

2002: Lito Sheppard, cornerback, Florida (No. 26)

2003: Jerome McDougle, defensive end, Miami (No. 15)

2004: Shawn Andrews, guard/tackle, Arkansas (No. 16)

2005: Mike Patterson, defensive tackle, USC (No. 31)

2006: Brodrick Bunkley, defensive tackle, Florida State (No. 14)

2007: Kevin Kolb, quarterback, Houston (second round, No. 36)

2008: Trevor Laws, defensive tackle, Notre Dame (second round, No. 47)

2009: Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver, Missouri (first round, No. 19)

2010: Brandon Graham, defensive end, Michigan (first round, No. 13)

2011: Danny Watkins, guard, Baylor (first round, No. 23)

2012: Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle, Mississippi State (first round, No. 12)

Eagles' best picks by round under Andy Reid

First round: Quarterback Donovan McNabb (1999)

Second round: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (2008)

Third round: Running back Brian Westbrook (2002)

Fourth round: Running back Correll Buckhalter (2001)

Fifth round: Defensive end Trent Cole (2005)

Sixth round: Center Jason Kelce (2011)

Seventh round: Safety Kurt Coleman (2010)

Eagles worst picks by round under Andy Reid

First round: Defensive end Jerome McDougle (2003)

Second round: Safety Jaiquawn Jarrettt (2011)

Third round: Defensive end Bryan Smith (2008)

Fourth round: Cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu (2008)

Fifth round: Wide receiver Jeremy Bloom (2006)

Sixth round: Defensive end John Frank (2000)

Seventh round: Linebacker David Bergeron (2005)