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Eagles defensive coordinator search: Georgia's Grantham, Alabama's Smart could be targets


Chip Kelly came from the college ranks and may be looking there to fill out his staff as well. Rumors are that Kelly is considering Georgia Bulldog's DC Tod Grantham and Alabama DC Kirby Smart for the same job in Philadelphia.

Both run tough, attacking 3-4 SEC defenses and have had a lot of success doing do. While both currently come from college, the two do also bring NFL experience with them as well.

Grantham spent 11 years in the NFL mostly a defensive line coach with the Colts, Texans & Cowboys. He also spent a few seasons as defensive coordinator of the Browns and and has led the Georgia defense since 2010.

Chip Towers, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks Grantham would make the jump if offered the job.

I’d expect Grantham to take it should it be offered. While he’s been at Georgia three years, he was in the NFL 11 and is still thought of as "an NFL guy." I imagine they’d pay him more than the $825,000 he’s currently making. And, lest we forget, Grantham’s losing 12 – that’s right, I said "twelve" – starters off his 2012 defense. Included in that group is sure-fire first-rounders Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree and possible first-rounder John Jenkins. No matter how good of a coach he is, Georgia’s defense is going to take a step back in 2013. He could see that as a good time to bolt with his reputation largely intact.

The other possible target is Alabama's Kirby Smart, who has been defensive coordinator and assistant head coach of Alabama under Nick Saban since 2007. He has NFL experience, but it's limited to just one year as safeties coach also under Saban with the Dolphins.

Smart has interviewed for a couple of college head coaching jobs and says his ultimate goal is to be a head man.

"Where that is, I have no idea," Smart said. "It's not like I wake up every day trying to leave Alabama. I have the best non-head-coaching job in the country, period, because I've got a great administration, we've got a great facility. I want to be where I can win, and I know you can win at Alabama. I think that's so important."

Getting out from under Saban's shadow and having some NFL level success probably would get him closer to his goal... but frankly, he'll probably get a college head job at some point if he sticks at Alabama. It really comes down to what Smart's aspirations are.

Kelly says he's approaching this hunt for staff like he did recruiting.

“My big thing with our staff is it’s the same approach I’ve taken with recruiting: It’s not who we don’t get, it’s who we do get. And I want to make sure that person is the right fit. So this isn’t a race of ‘Who do we have to have?’ and ‘I need to make an announcement tomorrow that we’ve got this.’ It’s making sure that we’re right in what we’ve got.”

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