MOBILE, Ala. – For NFL scouting departments, preparing for the draft is a year-round job.
For coaching staffs, though, that’s not the case.
Eagles coaches had last week off, some time to relax and recharge after a long and promising season. This week they turned the page to the offseason. Chip Kelly and his staff are at the Senior Bowl watching practices, interviewing prospects and working off a list provided to them by Howie Roseman.
"You want to make sure that you’re putting in front of him [Kelly] players that fit what he’s looking for and that he can evaluate them as well," Roseman said. "Our first job as a personnel department is to try and narrow it down. We spend a lot of time on 600 guys, making it down to 400, making it down to 200, making it down to a manageable number for our coaches. We do that, and there’s a lot of trust on their part of us doing that, making sure that when they come out here and go: ‘Hey why isn’t this guy on my list?’ We can explain it pretty quickly to them why we got rid of that guy and why we’ve narrowed it down."
The number right now is between 150 and 200 prospects, Roseman said. There are several players participating in the Senior Bowl who have already been crossed off the Eagles' list because they're bad fits.
The draft board is set in pencil, not pen. Coaches will get a closer look at prospects, the Senior Bowl and scouting combine will factor in, and the Eagles will have to get their ducks in a row by the time the draft rolls around in May.
"It’s hard to spend a lot of time on 250 to 300 guys," Roseman said. "It’s hard for our coaching staff. It’s hard for our personnel staff to spend the months of February, March and April chasing around 250 guys and making sure we know a lot.
"We talk a lot as a scouting staff knowing a lot about a little instead of a little about a lot. And that’s really important for us because at the end of the day we’re only pulling seven, eight, nine names off the board. And we’re maybe adding 10 free agents, so we’re only really making decisions on 20 guys. And if we’re right on 60 percent of them, we’re gonna do a phenomenal job. So let’s make sure the guys that we like we’re spending a lot of time on knowing everything we can so there’s not as many surprises."
BIG PEOPLE: JORDAN MATTHEWS
Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews was impressive today. At just under 6-3, 209 pounds, he looked like a man among boys during some of the drills.
Matthews had 112 catches for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He is Mel Kiper Jr.'s seventh-ranked receiver, but that could change and he could go off the board in the first two rounds.
It wouldn't be surprising if Matthews is someone the Eagles take a closer look at in the coming weeks.
The whole sports science thing apparently extends to the draft process. After practice is over, reporters, scouts and coaches are allowed onto the field to talk to the prospects.
The Eagles have a contingent of two to three people who go up to specific prospects with a measuring tape and measure the circumference of their knees and wrists.
Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com took a photo which we'll link to when it's posted, but the guess is that this has something to do with potential weight gain.
If anyone with a background in this field knows why it would be the knee and wrist specifically, feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.