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Eagles draft picks are becoming easy to predict

The trend continues.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It may be way too early to look ahead to the 2016 NFL Draft (who are we kidding?), but based on the results of the past few NFL Drafts we should already have a good idea of which players the Philadelphia Eagles will take. OK, not really. We're not even going to come close to knowing the names. But what we do know is that an interesting trend has taken place in recent years.

Following the 2014 NFL Draft, I wrote about how pre-draft visits mattered a lot when it came to the players Philadelphia picked. Only one of the Eagles' seven picks did not visit the team, and that was Oregon Ducks wide receiver Josh Huff. Chip Kelly obviously knew Huff well enough from their time together in Eugene.

People certainly had this trend in mind leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. Out of a total of 92 entries, 58 BGN commenters correctly guessed at least one player the Eagles drafted. 14 members even correctly guessed two picks. (Gil Brandt even nailed the Eagles exact pick at No. 20 all the way back in March!) In 2014, only one entry out of 57 attempts correctly guessed two names.

The increase in accuracy was likely due to the fact the Eagles drafted five players who they brought in for pre-draft visits. The only player who didn't visit was Kansas State cornerback Randall Evans. It was originally reported that he visited, but he informed media that he didn't. The Eagles seemingly just had a private workout with him instead.

Chip Kelly spoke on the importance of pre-draft visits following the Eagles' draft.

"I think they are really valuable.  Any time you get an exposure, you get a better idea of what they are all about.  And I know some people, Ed mentioned, use them as smoke screens or things like that.  We're not into that.  I want to find out as much as we possibly can about each individual prospect so that when we are really involved and kind of looking at them we are making accurate decisions.

Our mantra is we don't care who we don't get.  We care very much who we do get.  So everybody is, ‘Oh, we should have had that guy.’ We'd better really know about that guy we get.  That's where we are trying to dig deeper and work even harder at knowing everything about those guys and trying to get out as many times as we can, if we don't bring them in here, we are certainly going to see them at their place and just visiting with them.

The scouts really did a really good job in terms of getting all the background information, because the tape is the tape.  I think anybody can look at the tape but then you have to dig and figure out how do they really fit in terms of what we are trying to build here."

As Kelly noted, vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz once said the Eagles doesn't use their visits as attempts to mislead other teams. I found this interesting because former general manager Howie Roseman did admit to doing that in the past.

Being predictable in the draft typically isn't a good thing. Teams don't want other teams to know who they like. Kelly seems less concerned with tricks than he does genuinely evaluating players, however. And since there are up to 30 pre-draft visits anyway, it's not like teams will know exactly who he wants.

In the meantime, it's fun for fans to have some kind of idea who the team will take. For better or worse, this isn't like the Andy Reid era when the team would draft players they didn't even show interest in, such as Brandon Graham.

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