2013 NFL Draft: Philadelphia Eagles spotlight
Just about everyone is eager to see how Chip Kelly's offensive system and playcalling will work in the NFL, but even more interesting might be his moves and targets on draft day.
This is the fourth in a team-by-team series analyzing five prospects each team should consider in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Just about everyone is eager to see how Chip Kelly’s offensive system and playcalling will work in the NFL, but even more interesting might be his moves and targets on draft day.
Kelly is used to sending players to the draft, not selecting them.
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But on April 25-27, Kelly, joined by general manager Howie Roseman, will be running an NFL war room for the first time. Rarely does a coach with no pro experience (playing or coaching) land the head gig of an NFL franchise. But that’s exactly what Kelly did. And just like some have questions about how his philosophies translate to the pro game, his ability to run a draft room is a question mark as well.
One benefit that Kelly brings to the table is the familiarity with several prospects from the Pac-12 conference, especially former Oregon Ducks who spent the last four years with the Eagles' new head coach.
“I would think it would be an advantage because we know them,” Kelly said about his former players currently going through the draft process. “I can tell you what they’re like on the field. I can tell you what they’re like off the field. I can tell you what they’re like in the meeting room.”
For a team coming off a 4-12 season, the Eagles have a talented roster. But with a new coaching staff, Philadelphia’s direction on draft day is up in the air. With the fourth overall pick, offensive tackle, cornerback or a defensive tackle are considered the favorites. But pass rusher is also a possibility, especially if Dion Jordan is on the board, a player who developed under Kelly’s watchful eye.
“Dion’s just a special guy in my heart,” Kelly said. “I had an opportunity to be with him for five years. He came to Oregon as a receiver, moved to tight end, we switched him over to defense the beginning of his sophomore year. He just had a huge impact, not only on the field but off the field.”
As the Eagles enter draft weekend without Andy Reid for the first time since 1998, there is a lot of unknown as to the direction that Kelly and his staff will go. One thing is sure -- they'll have a plan.
Philadelphia Eagles 2013 draft picks: 4, 35, 67, 101, 136, 173, 210, 212, 218, 239
Primary needs: CB, OT, DL
General manager: Howie Roseman, fourth season
Five draft picks that clicked:
-- C Jason Kelce, 191st overall, 2011
-- RB LeSean McCoy, 53rd overall, 2009
-- WR DeSean Jackson, 49th overall, 2008
-- TE Brent Celek, 162nd overall, 2007
-- DE Trent Cole, 146th overall, 2005
Five players who should be on the Philadelphia Eagles’ draft radar:
Player, school (overall rating, position rating)
DE Dion Jordan, Oregon (8, 2)
Based on the way that Chip Kelly gushes about the athletic linebacker, it’s fair to say the Eagles have real interest in Jordan with the fourth overall pick. With Philadelphia moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme, they’ll look to add linebacker depth in the draft, making Jordan a logical fit with his versatility and experience under Kelly. At Oregon, Jordan was used as an edge rusher with his hand on the ground, standing up at linebacker and lined up over the slot receiver as a nickel cover man. Not only does his talent warrant a top-five selection, but Jordan’s familiarity and fit with Kelly in Philadelphia is easy to see.
OT Menelik Watson, Florida State (63, 7)
The Eagles have Jason Peters and Todd Herremans penciled in as the starting offensive tackles. But both are on the wrong side of 30 years of age, and both have battled numerous injuries. Peters has had two Achilles tears in the last year. And while his rehab has been positive, there is no guarantee he’ll ever be the same player. A native of England, Watson was a junior college transfer who started at right tackle in his only season with the Seminoles. Calling him “raw” would be an understatement as he needs a lot of work before he’s ready to face NFL rushers, but his size, athleticism and upside will land him somewhere in the draft’s top-50 picks.
QB Matt Scott, Arizona (146, 9)
The moment that Chip Kelly going to the Eagles became a reality, the next question became: Who will be his quarterback? The short-term answer is Michael Vick, but does Kelly see a prospect in this class whom he can develop to be the long-term answer? If so, Scott could be that target with his familiarity and production in a spread, high-tempo offense at Arizona. He has an athletic skillset and enough arm talent to make a living in the NFL with a year or two under his belt holding a clipboard in Kelly’s system. Quarterback is a crowded position on the depth chart with Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards, Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne in the Philly fold, but a quarterback can’t be ruled out here.
CB Nickell Robey, USC (162, 20)
The Eagles revamped their secondary through free agency, but the team’s cornerbacks still aren’t considered strengths on the roster. With this being a strong class for cornerbacks in just about every round, expect Philadelphia to select one at some point on draft weekend. Size limits his NFL ceiling; If Robey were three or four inches taller, he would be mentioned among the top cornerback prospects in this draft class. Robey has the feet, fluidity and fiery demeanor for the NFL. He’ll be able to contribute from Day 1, though he'll likely be limited to a nickel role.
DT Josh Boyd, Mississippi State (196, 17)
The Eagles drafted a Mississippi State tackle in the first round last season (Fletcher Cox) and could go in that direction this year, somewhere on the draft’s third day. Boyd had his best season in 2011, when he played alongside Cox, and he has the athletic and versatile skillset that Chip Kelly is looking for on the Eagles’ new-look defense. Boyd is a three-year starter in the SEC with effective range and looks natural in space. He needs work on his anchor to hold up in the trenches, but he would be able to add depth and talent to Philadelphia’s hybrid front.
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