I have a draft prediction at the bottom based of my theory of Chip Kelly modeling the Eagles after the Saints, but much like a toy at the bottom of a cereal box, you have to read all of the article in order to see it. :p
The time between the Super Bowl and the draft is a long period of waiting and suspense and with the exception of the free agency period there isn't a lot of excitement. It is also the time of the season that is rife with over analyzation and speculation. We've gone from Dee Ford and Kelvin Benjamin becoming the saviors of our 2015 season to players like ODB and Brandin Cooks. Player rise and Players fall, however the game film never changes. Tonight I was thinking to myself, there's gotta be some way to get an idea of who the eagles might like or what they might do. Their harder to decipher sometimes than the Navajo Windtalkers were in WW2. I started thinking over some of the moves that the Eagles made and had a epiphany. Chip Kelly is a master of adaptation. The offense we saw to open the season was completely different than the offense we saw vs the Saints in the playoffs because of what worked and what didn't work from his spread offense he used in Oregon and he adjusted to what parts of that worked in the NFL. So isn't it fair to say the personnel moves he made this off season is a reflection of that same thought process? People tend to say Chip Kelly likes to draft players from teams that he is familiar with (PAC-12) or from teams that beat him while he was at Oregon. And while that was true last year, shouldn't we start saying Chip Kelly likes draft the type of players that beat us in Philadelphia? I think the one game that has altered Kelly's opinion on the direction he wants to shape his offense was the Saints playoff game and I think the personnel moves made so far is a indication of that and will be even more so going forward. After all, coaches always preach we need to get better and in Kelly's case getting better means adapting and I think the eagles will be adapting to something similar of what the saints personnel looks like.
Last week Jeffery Lurie was being interviewed at the Eagles 18th annual playground build and two things he said really stuck out.
1. Chip Kellys the type of guy that knows exactly what he wants from a player
2. "I think that Chip's always going to not base things on statistics." It was really a football decision." "Chip values playoff production more."
Boom, and we all called that bullsh*t, and would of rightly done so because of the timing of Deseans release and all the rumors that were being circulated around that time. But just think about the Saints success the last 5 or 10 years. What receivers have they had? Jimmy Graham is their best receiving option between tight ends and receivers. But other than that? Marques Colston has the name recognition and puts up decent numbers but I certainly wouldn't consider him any better than a healthy Jeremy Maclin. And who won the super bowl this year? The Seattle Seahawks and considering Percy Harvin was out with injury most of the season, what do they have going on at wide receiver? I know we as fans all clamor for a true number 1 wide out and expect us to draft one in the first round this year, but to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't draft a receiver at all. Even with the departure of Desean Jackson, its not our biggest need. I mean how many rings does Calvin Johnson have? Or Larry Fitzgerald or Dez Byrant? The Saints defense was what shut us down in the playoffs and the Seahawks defense was what won them the Super Bowl. It wasn't a number 1 receiver. Hell, we took Jimmy Graham out of the game for the most part and they still won because their defense kept them in the game and they took Desean Jackson out of the game on our side. It was a even match and the fact that we couldn't capitalize on our turnovers lost us the game. The take away from this is we don't need a star receiver to help us win the super bowl, we need a defense to keep us in games and the release of Desean Jackson I think is directly related to Chip Kelly learning what worked for the saints and what didn't work for us.
When the eagles passed on Byrd and Ward they announced that Jenkins was their number 1 target the entire time. I'm starting to believe that, although that was a hard pill to swallow at the time. Like a bird being attracted to glittery objects, Byrd and Ward were the more attractive options, yet Kelly being the student of the game realized he wanted to sign a player that fit the scheme he and Billy Davis are trying to build defensively, a scheme that mimics what beat them in the Saints game. Sproles is another player that spurned the Eagles in their playoff loss, so is it any surprise the eagles ran at the chance to make the trade for him? Theirs a old saying that goes, "If you can't beat them, join them." Perhaps in Kelly's case it should be, "If they beat you, make them join you."
Now the Fun Part: When people commit murder, there usually crimes of passion...
When people commit murder there usually crimes of passion, there not well thought out and they often leave behind clues. Thats how they get caught. Since the playoff loss, every time Roseman or Kelly speaks in public or gives interviews regarding the eagles, they're always tight lipped about everything. Personnel moves or draft plans....forgetta about it. So maybe we can go back to the scene of the crime. What I'm going to do now is watch Kelly's post game interview he gave when he was high on emotion after the saints loss again to see if I can find any clues from it to give an indication of what direction were going to go in the draft. What I want to see is what really jumps out about that loss as according to Kelly because I think whatever Kelly saw in that game is going to determine what we do in the draft, and the release of Desean Jackson and Luries comments on Desean but also the addition of Sproles and Jenkins reinforces my idea that the Eagles are going to draft the type of players that the saints beat them with. Goodbye Stanford, Hello New Orleans.
Eagles-Saints: Chip Kellys Post Game Conference, What sticks out
*"kickoffs really hurt" - first thing he says, what do we do this year? sign two of the best special team specialists
*Why did it take so long to get Desean going? a question a reporter asks Chip. His response, "Yea I really dont know. We had some things called early, their rush got to us a little bit, we took a couple sacks. yea know, it was one of those deals were we were trying to get the ball to him early and we took a couple sacks, just couldn't get the ball out fast enough, and we tried again in the 2nd half and took some more sacks again." result well desean got released, and I echo Lurie when he said, "Chip Kellys the type of guy that knows exactly what he wants from a player" and also "I think that Chip's always going to not base things on statistics." It was really a football decision." "Chip values play off production more." If Chip Kelly said the eagles were trying to get the ball to him but took too many sacks than one of three things is to blame or a mixture of both. Foles helf onto the ball too long. The offensive line played poorly, or Desean couldn't get separation. I'd have to believe its a combo of all three but the fact that Lurie says "Chip knows exactly what he wants from each player", could mean Desean, for all the talent he has doesn't have what Chip wants in a receiver. Does that mean hes too small to handle double teams, or isn't that great of a route runner? Maybe, he's not here anymore and he's extremely fast and has great hands so can't be those two things.
*Saints running backs "their backs ran extremely hard, ran downhill, if you told me going in we were going to hold Jimy Graham to three catches, I think thats what he had, I thought it would be a pretty good deal, but give them credit they did a really good job of running the football against us." And as a result we traded for Darren Sproles.
confidence in Alex Henry moving forward? side stepped the question, but said we'll address that moving forward
red zone "their red zone defense was better than our red zone offense"
Its hard to predict what a team will do when our coach is new to the organization and when there extremely tight lipped about their "process." But if you sit back and look at our off season and Kelly's style at Oregon, do you think its far fetched to consider Kelly wants to emulate what the Saints do on both sides of the ball considering how similar both our teams are? Both Brees and Foles are pocket passers. The Saints and Eagles both use the tight end position in non traditional ways. They both play some form of a 3-4 defense and both Davis and Ron Ryan love to Blitz. The Saints and Seahawks really don't have a core of wide receivers that jump out at you(that's considering much of the seahawks success in the regular season was without Percy Harvin, and while Marques Colston has the name recognization, his certainly isn't any more prodcutive than Maclin). I think what your seeing now with Chip is what people said of him last year. Chip Kelly likes to find things that beat him whether it be players or schemes and add it to his team. We've seen some additions to special teams in response to how bad our coverage was against the saints and we've also picked up a couple saints players along the way. The only two areas we haven't addressed from the Saints game are kicker and and adding pass rush help. I know everyone is clamoring for a wide receiver in the first or 2nd round, but after thinking about the impact the saints game may of had on Chip Kelly, I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't draft a wide receiver until the 3rd or 4th round, or perhaps not even at all. If your tired of waiting for the draft, I suggest watching our playoff game again, because whatever weakness of ours the saints exposed during the playoff game will be the positions Chip Kelly seeks to improve
Draft Prediction: Eagles will not draft a wide receiver in the first round. Ryan Shazier is a guy who I think the Eagles are targeting. Roseman already said they plan to use Connor Barwin more as a pass rusher next year and Shazier is the best coverage linebacker in the draft