Eagles Wake-Up Call: Manuel Wants To Be Kelly’s First QB

Let’s focus back in on EJ Manuel. 

The former Florida State quarterback was on 97.5 The Fanatic Wednesday and restated his desire to come to Philadelphia to play for Chip Kelly.

“I’m just hoping that he gives me the opportunity,” said Manuel. “I would love to come and play in his offense, I would love to play for him and I would love to be his guy. It’s kind of starting off his tenure in the NFL, and I would love to be his first quarterback. I think it would be a great relationship.”

Lou Holtz is high on the 6-4, 240-pound Virginia Beach native, and believes he is a fit for the Eagles.

“I think that [Kelly] will look for a mobile quarterback,” said Holtz. “He’s always had a mobile quarterback.

“The guy I like is EJ Manuel. He’s an excellent athlete, can run, he’s pretty durable, has a very strong arm and was impressive in the Senior Bowl.”

Manuel, the Senior Bowl MVP, was recruited by Kelly coming out of high school and has some experience running the read option.

If the Eagles are in fact interested in Manuel, part of the trick will be figuring out where in the draft they can scoop him up. Unlike last year, when the top quarterbacks were more clearly defined, this class is up in the air. Manuel in particular is all over the place. Peter Schrager of Fox Sports has him going seventh overall, several mock drafts have him being taken in the second round, while Mike Mayock has a third-fourth round grade on him.

The picture will presumably get clearer as we approach April, but Howie Roseman will have his work cut out for him figuring out exactly where Manuel — or whatever quarterback the Eagles may covet — can be snared.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Kelly likes his offensive linemen to be like bar bouncers. We explain.

Sheil gives us five Kelly-related leftovers from the Senior Bowl.

Time to start rounding up the mock drafts to see who the Eagles might select at No. 4.

Rodney Harrison says he knows why the Eagles were fatigued in the second half of the Super Bowl.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Alex Smith talked about the possibility of going back to running the spread. From Les Bowen:

“Haven’t thought about it,” Smith said. “I’m certainly not opposed to it — we’ve done it here. Coach (Greg) Roman’s done a great job implementing that stuff, and even more now, with Colin in. It’s really dynamic stuff, I think. It’s hard to defend. It really creates a lot of problems for a defense, especially NFL defenses that haven’t seen it … you can see their struggles with it even on film.”

Smith said he met Chip Kelly when the then-Oregon coach visited the 49ers last summer. Didn’t have many thoughts on him otherwise. Obviously, Smith is in a tough spot this week — his focus has to be the Super Bowl. Kaepernick could go down on the first play from scrimmage Sunday, and it would be Smith’s job to lead the team to the Lombardi Trophy. He can’t let himself get carried away with what comes next.

Smith said he has “no timeline, no expectations,” but expects the 49ers to figure out what they want to do “very quickly,” whether they are immediately able to act on that decision or not.

Sam Donnellon explores Kelly’s New Hampshire days for answers on how the Eagles might move forward at quarterback.

“Chip doesn’t have to have a running quarterback,” Santos says. “I said that to a lot of people who have asked me whether I thought Chip would struggle in Philly, whether he would have to keep [Michael] Vick in order to run his offense. You look how we did it: I would run for four or five big first downs in a game, but I would run in man coverage when I knew the situation.”

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.