Chip Kelly doesn’t see what the big deal is.
His team has six opportunities to add quality football players in this year’s draft, and he wants to make them count. That’s why he traveled across the country to attend Pro Days in the past couple of months. Gil Brandt of NFL.com noted that he’d never seen a head coach attend so many.
Last week, Kelly downplayed the idea that he’s set a “world record” for Pro Day attendances.
“I just think there’s a lot more overblown about world record of Pro Day attendances,” Kelly said. “I’ve seen Mike Zimmer at a ton of them. I’ve seen Mike Tomlin at a ton of them. I’ve seen Gus Bradley at a ton of them. I’ve seen Marvin Lewis at a ton of them. There’s certain guys you see every week at different places.
“To me it’s just another tool in the toolbox when you’re making evaluations on people. It’s tough for me to be in a room and argue for or against a player when I’ve never seen them in person. I’ve watched his tape. There’s so much more than just watching tape – finding out the people that coached him, finding out what the janitor in the complex says about him, finding out what the people in the cafeteria say about him, find out what he’s like from a learning standpoint, find out as much information as you possibly can. And if you don’t, then shame on you.”
With the extra time this year before the draft, some teams are being careful not to over-analyze their boards. The Bills reportedly gave their scouts a week off. According to Adam Schefter, Saints coaches are spending the weekend in Vegas.
Howie Roseman was asked Thursday how his staff is handling the extra time.
“The difference for us is that normally in the draft we go to the league meetings, which kind of symbolizes the turnover from free agency to the draft and it’s a rush,” he said. “Saturdays and Sundays, here all day. It’s just kind of a run to the draft, and then when you’re done with the draft you kind of take a deep breath. I think what it’s allowed us to do is have a little bit of space on the weekends. It’s being able to get away from it a little bit and be more measured [in our] approach, but either way works and we’re excited to get going.”
As for Kelly, it’s clear that he’s heavily involved in the draft process. And he doesn’t seem to think there’s such a thing as too much information on a prospect. Aside from evaluating their on-the-field skill set, he has stressed chemistry and fit time and again. That’s why it would be no surprise to see the Eagles target Oregon players or Pac-12 players, whom he’s more familiar with.
“As I tell our guys, I don’t care who we don’t get,” Kelly said. “I care very, very much who we do get. And who we do get, we have to have all the information there to say we feel really, really comfortable in terms of that guy’s gonna be a great Philadelphia Eagle. That’s why we select him.
“So I think if you have the time, and certainly with the draft moving back, we had a ton of time. Because of the CBA, we’re not allowed to be with our players until last Monday so I don’t know what else I would do. We did a lot of work in January and February from a self-scout standpoint in terms of what we were doing and looking at our scheme and evaluating our own current roster. And then after that, we already had our free agency board set. Basically after the combine, it’s Pro Days. And it was an opportunity to go find out a little bit more information about the guys we’re drafting.”