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Chip Kelly wanted to pick Jordan Matthews in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft

Let's play the blame game.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

According to NFL insider Jason Cole, it doesn't seem like Eagles 2014 first round pick Marcus Smith II was selected by Chip Kelly. If Kelly had his way, the Eagles would have drafted wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who the team drafted in the second round, in the first. Via Cole:

"Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman were highly at odds over the first two years in draft strategy.  Chip Kelly, for instance, wanted to take Jordan Matthews in the first round this last year. Howie Roseman basically had to explain to him, "No, you’re going to be able to get a guy like Matthews in the second round." That happened in a number of other circumstances according to sources who I’ve talked to who understand the Eagles situation.

So basically Chip Kelly is now going to have to formulate his own strategy and how he handles the draft board, and he’s going to have to hire another personnel person, and the question is: will that personnel executive, who Chip Kelly hires, be willing to stand up against Chip when he might be willing to overdraft a player and not understand the whole NFL strategy of the draft."

This 2014 draft is long gone, but this report is obviously relevant due to the new Eagles power structure. Kelly will now oversee Philadelphia's player personnel department so he'll have an even bigger influence on the draft than he did before.

The report raises some concern for Eagles fans. It is known that taking Matthews in the first would have been a reach considering he was still available when the Eagles traded up to pick No. 42. The rookie receiver from Vanderbilt didn't have a bad season by any means; he actually ended up being the most productive player from the Eagles draft class. But that isn't the point. The key is that Kelly doesn't really have a good sense of where draft prospects will be available, which could lead to missing out on talented players.

Matthews isn't the only example of Kelly wanting to overdraft a player. The Eagles coach admitted he wanted to take Taylor Hart, his defensive end from Oregon, in the third round last year before Roseman convinced him he would be available later on. Philadelphia ended up drafting Hart with a fifth round pick. The rookie lineman was a healthy scratch for all 16 games in 2014.

Now that Kelly has all the power, there's nothing really to stop him from taking players wherever he wants. That is, unless, he is willing to heed the advice of the player personnel executive that he hires.


Getting back to Smith II, it's interesting to see that Kelly didn't really want him in the first. The rookie linebacker couldn't really get on the field in 2014. He only played 105 snaps the entire season. Kelly hasn't necessarily spoken glowingly about the Louisville alum when asked about him.

But does that mean Smith II was a Roseman pick? Not necessarily, according to Cole. So if it wasn't Kelly, and it wasn't Howie... was it Tom Gamble? And is that part of the reason why Gamble was fired? With no clear answer, one can only guess.

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