Greg Cosell has studied Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense extensively. And we know that he pores over hours and hours of college tape in order to be well-educated when it comes to NFL Draft prospects. For the purposes of this article we asked him to marry that knowledge – to provide us with a handful of players from this current crop that would fit well with Kelly, based off the tendencies he showed and system he deployed while in Eugene.
It should be noted that this is an imperfect exercise. We don’t know how much of what Kelly did at Oregon will be transferred to the pros. But since he hasn’t coached yet on this level, we are using the information currently at our disposal.
QB EJ Manuel
“The Oregon offense, to work to its maximum effectiveness based on what I saw on film, requires the quarterback to be a viable running threat,” said Cosell. “There were significant elements of the read option, and that only works if the quarterback is a running threat because it forces defenses to do certain things.
“I would not call Geno Smith a runner but I can see Chip Kelly thinking he can do that; clearly EJ Manuel can do that; and I think Matt Scott can do it.”
Cosell did not seem to think Ryan Nassib would be a particularly good fit as a read-option quarterback.
While he listed all three signal-callers as potential fits, he gave the nod to Manuel over Scott in particular because of sheer size. Manuel is listed at 6-5, 240; Scott at 6-3, 197; and Smith at 6-3, 208.
“At the end of the day, if he’s going to run,” said Cosell, “he is going to get hit.”
TE Jordan Reed
Cosell sees some Aaron Hernandez in Reed’s game.
The 6-3, 243-pound first-team All-SEC selection had 45 catches for 559 yards and three touchdowns for the Florida Gators last season.
“I think offensively, using Oregon as the basis, [Kelly] runs a lot of spread, and wants skill position players that can threaten the defense from wherever they line up,” said Cosell. “I think he wants athletic movement players. You want receiving tight ends because they give defenses matchup issues.
“Reed is an athletic mover with wide receiver traits.”
CBS Sports has Reed being taken in the third or fourth round. Cosell also mentioned Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, but Eifert is a projected first-round pick, and the Eagles aren’t likely to take him No. 4 overall.
OT Luke Joeckel/Eric Fisher
“At the end of the day I don’t think [Kelly is] going to want road graders, he is going to want quicker athletes,” said Cosell. “They could pick an offensive lineman at No. 4. More than likely Fisher or Joeckel will be there. Either one of those guys fits.
“I wouldn’t say either one is an elite athlete. The strength of both guys is repetitive execution, they are always on balance. This is my opinion, but I don’t think you need a great offensive line in college to run that offense. In college, I think the scheme takes care of quite a lot. I don’t think it’s the same way in the NFL. This team needs a good offensive line.
“Personally I think it would be a really good pick. Those guys are ready-made starters. Joeckel and Fisher are starters Day 1 wherever they go. Both should be really stable NFL players.”
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