Chip Kelly’s first draft is in the books. Three lengthy days. Seven grueling rounds. Hours upon hours of overhyped television programing. However, we still have no idea if Chip Kelly can scout talent. We may not know for another two or three years time.
On paper, it looks like something out of a teachers’ manual. In this case, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
After selecting eight players in the 2013 NFL Draft, Chip Kelly has a full roster to take to training camp. Kelly’s first draft was based solely off of their player board, regardless of position. Lane Johnson was ranked among the top four in the draft, and when Miami selected Dion Jordan, the Eagles pounced:
“Lane Johnson is the most athletic lineman we’ve seen…Ton of upside…Tough, physical guy.”
Johnson may not start week one, similar to Danny Watkins in 2011. However, his work ethic and athleticism will undoubtedly earn him the RT job by week 4.
On Friday, the Eagles stuck with their board, adding TE Zach Ertz and DL Bennie Logan. Both were highly touted coming into the draft, and will fit nicely in Philly. Specifically, Zach Ertz will excel in Chip Kelly’s mismatch offense, as he can attack small defensive backs or bulky linebackers. Chip Kelly declared Ertz to be “a mismatch nightmare.” Ertz will feature in two and three TE sets, and will create a multidimensional weapon. He, Brent Celek, and James Casey will be like a swiss army knife in the Eagles passing game, resembling that of the Patriots. Bennie Logan is also versatile, able to play all three DL positions. Logan may start week 1, based on the lack of depth and experience the Eagles possess at the position.
Heading into Saturday, the Eagles shockingly traded up to take QB Matt Barkley. Barkley presented good value for the Eagles, and helped dethrone a common misnomer of the Chip Kelly offense. Kelly does not desire a “running QB.” Instead, he wants someone who can make quick decisions, and get the ball into the playmakers’ hands without causing turnovers.
The other four picks were on defense. Safety Earl Wolff will challenge the current group. Linemen Joe Kruger and David King will fight for rotation spots, and add depth to the new 3-4 based line. Jordan Poyer could earn return time, as well as a fourth corner spot for the short term. A fourth round caliber player, Poyer may develop into a future starter.
All in all, the draft was a success. Fans bag all positives about the players, and run with them amid a scene of optimism. Only time will tell if this scene is fiction, or reality.