Asked to describe the kind of football player and person the Eagles drafted in the first round on Thursday night, defensive end Brandon Graham said his new team had gotten "a great pass- rusher, a disruptive run-stopper, a high-motor guy, a humble guy."

If he turns out to be only three out of four, that will be fine with coach Andy Reid, as long as Graham had them in the right order.

The Eagles, for the second year in a row, moved up in the opening round of the draft to pick off a player they had targeted. A year ago, they had to jump only two spots to assure themselves of taking wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. This time, going from the 24th spot to the 13th position cost them a pair of third-round picks, but Reid thought that was exactly the move that needed to be made.

"We felt he was the best player there and we also felt it took care of a need," Reid said.

The Eagles knew that both the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans were looking to take defensive ends with their first picks, and their trade with the Denver Broncos allowed the Eagles to leapfrog both teams and get the guy they wanted.

If Graham works out, and no one can say that for sure on April 23, this will be the first memorable move for the new front-office alignment led by general manager Howie Roseman.

Reid and the coaching staff identified the areas the team needed to improve, and Roseman went about the task of selecting the players he and his personnel thought best filled those needs. Those names were forwarded to Reid for his approval, and that's how Brandon Graham became a member of the Eagles.

"Howie helped me narrow things down and coached me up on the players. He thought this was a superb player," Reid said. "I went and looked at him. I looked at every game he played, as well as all the games of some other players, and we came to the conclusion that this was the guy."

Graham is what has become something of a prototype for Eagles defensive ends, a player who isn't all that big but who is strong and quick. "Relentless," Reid said.

The Eagles have been this way before. Graham is the sixth lineman taken in the first round during Reid's 12 drafts in charge of the team, and the fifth on the defensive side of the ball. You can make it seven overall if you count the first-round pick traded for offensive tackle Jason Peters last year.

Reid believes in solidifying the core of the team and obviously also believes that the defense is where the Eagles needed the most help. Not all of those previous picks for linemen have worked out, but Reid's faith that the line is the place to start is unshaken. Without a good pass rush, even good defensive backs can be exposed. Without players quick enough to cut off the running lanes, short gains get longer and opposing drives are extended.

"When you have a good defensive line, it makes everybody around them better," Reid said. "All of a sudden the cornerbacks are a lot better, the safeties are a lot better, and the linebackers are a lot better."

Whether they are ultimately right or wrong, the Eagles were able to aggressively alter the draft order Thursday night to get the player they targeted. Then they were able to catch a breath and enjoy one feature of the new NFL draft format by having nearly a full day to reset their draft board and plot a strategy for the second round and beyond. When the draft resumes Friday, the Eagles will hold a pair of second-round picks, including the fifth selection in that round.

"It's a neat deal. You can take a step back," Reid said.

The common logic would be that the Eagles still need to strengthen their defensive secondary, perhaps the middle of their defensive line, and get some depth for their offensive line. Those aren't going to be eye-popping picks, but there are talented players at all those spots still on the board.

If the past is prelude, the Eagles are not done dealing. Reid likes the riverboat aspect of the draft, and he apparently has a willing partner in Roseman. Maybe Friday will be the day they find a taker for Michael Vick. Maybe they'll trade for another linebacker. They seem to like doing that. Maybe they'll use a second-round pick for a secondary player for the first time since 2002, when the Eagles drafted safety Michael Lewis and cornerback Sheldon Brown with successive picks.

Or maybe none of that. What Friday brings is unknown, but Thursday brought them Brandon Graham, and the Eagles settled down for the night feeling very good about that.