Ten days to go until the draft that is expected to lay the foundation for the Chip Kelly era, and the buzz has ratcheted up a notch.
Let’s start with SI.com’s Peter King, who ran through the top-10 picks in his Monday Morning Quarterback column:
Eagles have been nutty about getting players who fit the 3-4. Hear they like Star Lotulelei a lot to play all along the line, even at nose. Where they go — Geno Smith, pass-rusher, best corner in the draft — I don’t know, but my guess is pass-rusher.
We profiled Lotulelei back in February. The 6-2, 311-pounder is considered one of the top defensive linemen in the draft and has the ability to play in a variety of places up front. Lotulelei was diagnosed with a heart condition at the Combine, but by all accounts, he has received a clean bill of health since. The Eagles reportedly held a private workout with Lotulelei and also hosted him at the team facility, presumably to do their own medical checks.
King reiterates that this year’s first round is especially difficult to predict. And NFL Network’s Mike Mayock tells him that one reason is because Chip Kelly is a wild card.
“And,” Mayock said, “you throw a Chip Kelly in there at number four. He could be so different. I’m not sure they value things in Philadelphia the way everyone else does in the league anymore.
One last note from King’s column: He writes that the Raiders want to trade the third pick, but adds that he “can’t see it happening.” This would obviously affect the Eagles if they are fielding offers for the No. 4 pick.
Greg Cosell of NFL Films recently wrote a column for Yahoo Sports about how offenses are changing. He didn’t mention Kelly specifically, but the new Eagles’ head coach definitely came to mind when reading certain passages:
The overriding, and superseding point is that they are all movable chess pieces, all “Jokers”, to use the term that I’ve used before and I think is aptly descriptive. That’s the “Cosell Doctrine”, and that’s the direction I see the NFL game trending. It’s about passing, and how you can create, and ultimately dictate favorable matchups. You do that with players that are amorphous and fluid in their ability to be utilized in ways both multiple and expansive, yet somewhat unstructured based on conventional definitions.
His point is about versatility, and it certainly applies to some of the things we’ve seen with Kelly so far, like the addition of James Casey, and to a lesser degree, Arrelious Benn. Guys who can line up in a variety of places and handle different responsibilities, depending on the look of the defense.
The one way Kelly’s approach might differ from what Cosell describes is that he (in college, at least) often looked for favorable matchups in the running game. But the concept still applies.
The National Football Post echoes what many have been reporting about this year’s offensive tackle group:
There aren’t many certainties at this point about how the players will come off the board in the first round, but there seems to be one, according to a buzz building in league circles: those top three offensive tackles will go fast. Not only are Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson highly rated, but they also are in high demand. Among the threats to take offensive tackles near the top of the draft are the Chiefs, Jaguars, Eagles, Lions, Cardinals, Chargers and Dolphins. Some would not be surprised to see a team trade up for one of the tackles.
As we’ve written about on several occasions, if the Eagles get calls about the No. 4 pick, chances are teams will be looking to move up for one of the three offensive tackles: Joeckel, Fisher or Johnson.
If the Eagles don’t get an offer they like, it’s probably just as likely that they use the pick on one of those three players.
The Eagles held a private workout with Georgia defensive lineman Kwame Geathers, according to Aaron Wilson.
Geathers (6-5, 342) was a rotational player with the Bulldogs and enters the draft after his junior year. The Eagles recently acquired his brother, Clifton, from the Colts.
Geathers is expected to be a Day 3 pick.
Click here for the full tracker of Eagles workouts and prospect visits.