If there was one theme in this year's draft it was that the Eagles seemed to show a bit of a preference for Pac-12 players whom Chip Kelly would be very familiar with from his time at Oregon. Zach Ertz from Stanford, Matt Barkley from USC and Jordan Poyer from Oregon State were all taken out of the Pac-12.
We've even heard Chip talk about his familiarity with Nick Foles from the QB's time at Arizona. Foles is not the only young former Pac-12 player he inherited, there's also former Pac-12 defensive player of the year Mychal Kendricks from Cal.
"I think Mychal's an athletic, real physical linebacker, but I think his biggest attribute is his athleticism," Kelly said of the 2nd year man. "He's a three‑down linebacker, he doesn't have to come off the field in third down. He excels in pass coverage, but he's physical enough to play on first and second down. He's one of the more athletic linebackers in this league, so really excited about his future and what he can do. He can do everything we've asked him to do."
Kelly also praised what he called Kendricks' "coverageability." That's a new Chipism...
Kendricks was one of the guys I brought up as some fans bemoaned the lack of defensive player in the first couple rounds of the 2013 draft. Fact is, the team did go defense heavy in 2012 with 4 of the first 5 picks coming on the defensive side of the ball. There's no doubt that as they enter their 2nd seasons, the Eagles will be looking for increased production from guys like Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry and Brandon Boykin.
Kendricks started 14 games as a rookie and after getting off to a hot start, faded along with most of the team as the season wore on. However, as he heads into year, the 2nd year man actually has a bit of a head start as he played in a 3-4 system in college starting full seasons as both an outside and inside linebacker.