What They’re Saying About the Eagles

From Chip Kelly to April’s draft, here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports talked to a number of people around the league about Kelly:

“The Eagles have some fast players, no doubt, but everybody has fast players and the difference between the Eagles and the rest of the league isn’t that great,” one head coach said. “The other thing is there were probably only four or five games where Oregon really got tested physically. When you have that kind of talent, you can put a game plan together in 15 minutes, practice for a day and be ready to roll up 50 points.”

SI.com’s Don Banks has the Eagles taking West Virginia QB Geno Smith at No. 4:

This is where the real guess-work begins, because so much depends on whether new Eagles coach Chip Kelly believes he currently has his starting quarterback on the roster or not. Smith’s talents aren’t a perfect mesh for Kelly’s up-tempo offense, but he’s got enough mobility to get the job done, and his pocket-passing skills are NFL ready. We know quarterbacks get pushed up by need, but the Eagles defense needs so much help that Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner could be tough to pass on.

Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com has the Eagles taking Alabama CB Dee Milliner:

Pegging a first round pick to the Eagles is like pinning a tail on a donkey at this point in the process. All questions are obviously on the offense and what new coach Chip Kelly plans to do with the quarterback decision. But Kelly and Howie Roseman have not publicly made any statements about the future of Michael Vick, Nick Foles, or this selection. Until then, I’m going to focus on the defense, an even more disastrous unit than the offense in 2012. Nnamdi Asomugha’s best days are behind him, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can’t tackle, and the rest of the corners are just guys. Milliner isn’t just a guy. He’s the next in a long line of great Alabama corners to enter the NFL Draft. He’ll be a good fit in Philly.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com also has the Eagles taking Milliner, calling him the best corner in the draft.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper re-grades the 2012 draft after one season. He gives the Eagles a B+. They earned an A right after the draft:

Fletcher Cox finished the season as a terror on the defensive line and is a lock to start at defensive tackle in 2013. But he needs to show more consistency. Mychal Kendricks was an immediate starter at linebacker and a good get at No. 46. If the Eagles didn’t trade for DeMeco Ryans, it would have been Kendricks as the head-and-shoulders best linebacker on the roster. This season was essentially a redshirt year for Vinny Curry, who was inactive for most of the year. I noted during the draft that I thought that Brandon Boykin was a steal at No. 123 overall because he could be an early starter, and Boykin was giving Philly the best play among any of its corners by the end of the season. Bryce Brown we know is a steal, a low-mileage pickup in Round 7 who proved he can start in this league if needed. And I haven’t even mentioned Nick Foles. Hey, we don’t know if Foles will be the starter under Chip Kelly, but would you rather have, say, Brandon Weeden or Brock Osweiler based on what you’ve seen from Foles? Even as a good backup, he proved to have decent value. The big knock on this draft is the question of whether all these rookies see this much time for a better team. That’s the main reason the grade dips.

Andy Staples of SI.com takes a look at how Kelly fits in with the Eagles:

So, for now, Kelly must make nice. He may eventually revolutionize offense in the NFL the way he did at the college level, but at the moment, he’s the new guy in a town where people boo Santa Claus and consider Cheez Whiz the Lord’s condiment. He isn’t worshipped anymore. He is the subject of cautious optimism. Kelly’s track record and football smarts suggest he can adapt his offense to succeed in the NFL. Heck, playoff teams (the 49ers, Patriots, Seahawks and Redskins) enjoyed offensive success this season incorporating concepts (blazing tempo, the zone read) that were cornerstones of Kelly’s Oregon offense.

Chris Burke of SI.com gives the Eagles an A- for hiring Kelly:

Could this backfire? Sure. Kelly could flop and greatly set back the NFL’s interest in college coaches. But this is a swing-for-the-fences hire … and Kelly is a smart enough coach to make it work.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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