Three Draft Leftovers From Kelly, Roseman

Here are three leftovers from post-draft interviews with Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman.

1. Yesterday, we discussed Kelly’s position-specific measurables for draft prospects. But what else were the Eagles looking for in the players they drafted?

Well, for one, football smarts. By all accounts, Kelly’s offense will have a lot to do with making pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage. That’s not only on the quarterback. Everybody will be expected to be on the same page.

“I think it’s a huge part of it,” Kelly said. “There’s a very cerebral part to this game that I don’t know if people sometimes give enough credit to. It’s about making good decisions. Dumb people do dumb things. Smart people rarely do dumb things.

“Part of the evaluation that goes along with how fast does someone runs a 40 or how fast does someone run a short shuttle or how strong is he, is the evaluation of them processing [information]. How do they make decisions? Can you count on them day in and day out? Are they dependable? And those are huge components to making decisions. It’s not just a stop-watch and a bench press. There’s so much more that goes into it. Trying to figure out the intangibles.”

Part of trying to figure those things out is the interview process. Kelly was able to use his relationships with college coaches, but he also got to interview prospects during private workouts, visits to the team facility and at the Combine.

In Indianapolis, he identified two players in particular – Matt Barkley and third-round pick Bennie Logan – as guys who just knocked the interview out of the park.

“I heard a guy [say], and I’m not taking credit for it, but when people fail or high draft picks fail, it’s one of two reasons. It’s either intelligence or intangibles,” Kelly said. “So we spend a lot of time in our evaluation on the intelligence and on the intangibles. We felt we had to hit on that. I hope these guys, they fit what we’re looking for.

“You do have to make great decisions, split-second decisions when you’re on the football field, so understanding how they can handle things, how they learn and do they understand the scheme is important to us.”

2. There’s also the matter of where the players came from. All eight draft picks played in four BCS conferences: four from the Pac-12, two from the Big 12, one from the SEC and one from the ACC. The truth is, if you look up and down draft boards, that’s what you’re going to find. According to Jon Solomon of AL.com, only 26 of the 254 players selected (or 10.2 percent) came from non-BCS schools.

Still, according to Roseman, the Eagles are pretty committed to sticking with big programs, for the most part.

“I believe strongly you have to get them where they make them,” he said. “It’s more of the exception that guys come from small schools and make it. I think as you study successful payers in this league, you’re looking at exception. And when you start to become a team of exceptions, you start to have a problem. And I think that is something that is a philosophy of ours and it’s important to us.”

Kelly said specifically that the SEC produces top-level defensive linemen, which sets the conference apart.

In the past two years, the Eagles have only selected one player (Vinny Curry, Marshall) from a non-BCS school.

3. A word of caution about over-using the term value in regards to draft choices. Bill Parcells had the famous line about being what your record says you are.

A similar rule applies to the draft. For example, the Eagles are drawing plenty of praise for grabbing Barkley and Jordan Poyer after they “slipped.” But what exactly does that mean?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have an issue with either pick. But think about it. In a QB-starved league, Barkley was passed over 97 times. With teams always needing cornerback help, Poyer was passed over 217 times.

So I asked Roseman: When you have a prospect high on your board, and he keeps falling, don’t you hesitate and think, maybe the 31 other teams know something you don’t know?

“I will now,” Roseman said with a laugh, not really answering the question. “I hadn’t really thought about it that way.”

But he’s not a dumb guy, so of course that thought has crossed his mind.

Teams spend several months putting together their draft boards. Countless hours of scouting, film study, meetings, the Senior Bowl, the Combine, Pro Days, private workouts, team visits, etc. By the time the draft rolls around, they have to have confidence with how their draft board is set up. There’s no time to second-guess evaluations once the selections are under way. That’s how you probably get into trouble.

But still, something to keep in mind the next time you hear that a prospect has slipped.

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

    I was holding my breath during the draft that the birds would grab the Honey Badger if he dropped to round four; guess I would have been holding it for another three rounds

    • Anon

      I liked HB too but i think we were right to pass. We don’t have a “leader” on D or a strong locker room culture, or people that he knows that would mentor him — all things i think he needs to stay on the straight an narrow.

  • EricT

    It’s not how you compare your draft board to others, it’s how your draft pans out over time.

    Ideally, if a team does really, really well drafting, they generally don’t need to dip into free agency. Think Green Bay.

    A team needs to honestly go back, evaluate its past evaluations with the benefit of hindsight and determine where they went wrong when they missed a good player. This is the only way to get better doing something. They can then determine what was the intangible they overlooked during that process. Think Ray Lewis – he went on pick 26 in 1996. With hindsight, how many teams that passed on him would now have taken him?

    This helps refine the evaluation process. Chip and the birds will get better and better as long as they continue to learn from their past mistakes which seems like they are doing.

    • GEagle

      yeah, The Eagles front Office, especially Howie certainly sounds like he is starting to learn from his mistakes. for all of Howies shortcomings, I think He is passionate about being the Eagles GM and bring a Lombardi trophy to the Delaware valley, I also think he is smart enough to honestly evaluate himself, and continue to strive to get better, and without that, you get stuck with a brain dead decision maker like Jerry Jones, who is going to continue to hurt the franchise, and never even admit to himself that he needs to improve.
      …..
      I have been SAYNG for months, if a player has round 1 or round 2 talent, the only thing that can turn him into a bust, is injuries or the mental side…did Howie really quote me? Lol JK

      • GEagle

        sal Pal reports that Chip Loves Foles. Tampa bay and a couple of other teams wanted to trade for him, and the Eagles said he was untouchable!!! jolly Ol St. Nick, FLY EAGLES FLY!!!!!!!

  • HowieDon’tKnow

    It would have been nice to hear him explain how the Eagles valued LJ so highly even tho he was not first team in his own conference! We would all learn something about talent evaluation by understanding how the combine performance could be given more weight than how he actually played on the field. From 2nd team in his conference to #4 overall is a pretty amazing trip.

    • krizman

      It’s the mythical and unquantifiable “upside”. You can’t argue with that!

      • GEagle

        if your philosophy is, I’m going to draft the Poyer who today is the best….you are going to miss out on alt of studs. projection is sooo much more important than accomplishments

      • theguyotc
    • GEagle

      You are leaving some very important factors out of the equation:

      1) DOMINANT senior bowl performance( prospects might have up and down games in college, take plays off, etc…but come the senior bowl, everyone is going hard and trying to put their best foot forward, and some say Lane had the most dominant performance that they had ever seen….You might have a case For overvaluing the combine, but the senior Bowl, matters, and is a great tool to evaluate prospects.

      2)Espeially with Raw players who lack experience…GN’s put heavy emphasis on how quickly a prospect is progression. in Lane’s case, every month he got significantly better…Ugh, I can’t think of the kids name, but midway through the season, there was an important match up between Lane and a pass rush prospect who at the time was thought of as a first or second round pick, Lane Dominated the kid, and it basically reversed there fortunes, Lanes started to climb boards, and the pass rusher started falling. Cossel says just by watching every other game, you will see significant improve,meets from one week to the next as he got more comfortable….I love the pick big Ol country boy from Texas, that played whatever position the coach asked so that he could get on the field…I like that!!! The dude eats like 16eggs and 13 burgers at a time lol

    • James Skip Carl

      Maybe he was second team because the guy that got drafted two picks before him and with more experience ( however less upside) was first team.

  • http://twitter.com/THEKID_ Mike Jehle

    Let’s also not forget that Roseman was a GM in title only the last couple years. Everything still went through Reid. Then it comes out that last years draft was run more by Roseman for the first time…and what do you know, a bunch of guys that were productive as rookies. I think Roseman knows what he’s doing and if given the opportunity to do it, drafts will continue to be better than they were.
    Regarding the QB making smart decisions (with the ball)…I think we now know why Foles was retained and Barkley was drafted. If Vick can’t make smart decisions running the Andy & Marty offense…I have no faith he will running Kelly’s.

    • Absecon

      Awesome points! I’m thinking Roseman knows what he’s doing as well and he and Kelly kept Vick because they could see on tape Foles may still needs some grooming with the new staff on board before being the number one. People seem to forget Foles is only a second year QB that needs development. Vick buys time for that as he certainly has the tools to get the year started. Now with the Barkley pick, Kelly has two guys with high ceilings if they continue to develop into the pro game that can potentially be the guy. Why force either one in your first year as coach when you have an experienced QB you can rent for a year? Kelly watched Foles and Barkley throw for tons of yards against his teams; he knows exactly what he has with them. This guy is smart like a fox….

  • Bdawkbdawk

    Sheil, I heard it as “Dumb people do dumb things and smart people really do dumb things.” I could be wrong, but I think the transcript confirms. http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/article-1/Chip-Kelly-Post-Draft/b3343457-4013-481a-8ff6-94a291199757
    A small and pretty insignificant point, but I think that it shows that it is not just a matter of raw intelligence. But a mixture of intelligence and “coachability” and other intangibles. Likely, Chip doesn’t want a bunch of smart or dumb players analyzing plays independently, but a unit diagnosing plays in the same, instinctual way- which I hope Coach Davis will impart.