Kelly: Pro Day Attendance ‘Overblown’

NFL: Annual Meetings

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."

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  • DmanPhilly

    Fly Eagles Fly !!!

  • Joe L

    I don’t see why it’s a bad thing that he would go to as many pro days as possible. Making sure he sees these guys up close and personal.

    • CTAZPA

      It just seems like humility to me. “Other coaches are doing it; it’s no big deal.”

      I agree with all the commenters that applaud the effort he puts in.

  • DirtyWaters

    I would be more concerned if he didn’t go.

  • Randy

    This whole overblown talk is probably coming from the teams whose coaches only made it to 1 or 2 pro days.

    • Explorer51

      This quote is from an unnamed NFC personnel exec (part of a Paul Domowitch story on Philly.com):

      “Why does our coach need to go talk to the [college] coach when a scout’s already been on campus twice, the personnel director’s been on campus and the GM’s been on campus? That’s three people who’ve already asked him the same questions. What is our coach going to get out of him that he didn’t already tell the rest of us?

      “It’s redundant. It’s overkill.”

      And this is yet another reason why Kelly is considered an outlier by the NFL insiders…

      • John E. Zang

        Sounds like someone’s jealous there’s somebody outworking them to me. If you were in control of a certain team wouldn’t you trust yourself to do the research or some scout? You can’t beat first hand knowledge and there’s something to be said about actually meeting them in person. Chips a teacher and learner as well, and I love that he’s dedicated to every detail of this game.

      • Kev_H

        He’s like the classic guy who takes a piecework job in a union shop and works his butt off and figures out how to do things better while all the other people freak out because he’s busting the curve. It’s tough work, for example, to sell NFL football players on optimal diets and sleep, but Kelly tackles the task.

        • Jamie

          Don’t worry, if Kelly and the Eagles are successful, the NFL will come up with a rule limiting the number of Pro-Day visits a coach can make.

      • anon

        I see both sides. Delegation is really important obviously does Kelly not trust scouters — is he a micro-manager? But you gotta love a guy that still gets his hands dirty in every aspect.

      • Adam

        Sounds like someone in the old boys club doesn’t like being shown up by a up and comer.

      • Rick H

        Very good point! I have learned over 40 plus years (and counting) of being a successful entrepreneur that if you continue to ask you will be amazed at the different answers you will get. Then your sixth sense becomes a dominant determining factor in the analysis.
        I.E. I am not shy about asking for directions even in the GPS age. When a GPS isn’t going to get me to the right place, I have no problem asking multiple people the same question about where the location is even after getting good information.
        It is amazing how many times the second or third person I ask gives me different directions. I evaluate the people as much as the directions and turn to my sixth sense. At the very worst you are reconfirming the information and subconsciously evaluating all the time.
        This is why I like Kelly so much. Also you can not forget about Donuhoe and Gamble. They bring a lot to the table and are of the same cloth..

  • Rambler

    As someone that is very analytical about making decisions, I can really appreciate this aspect of Chip. Why wouldn’t he be making the most informed decision he possibly can? And that only comes from hand’s on research. So happy to have this control freak running the show.

    • Dan

      Couldn’t agree more. There is no such thing as too much information. You need someone / a system that is smart enough to know what data you want to throw out, but the idea that a team would give its scouts a week off instead of collecting more data before the most important personal decision of the year doesn’t seem too bright to me.

  • borntosuffer

    I’d like to take this moment to complement the posters here. I spent some time the past few days over on Phi11y.c@m reading comments. The level of knowledge of the average post just doesn’t compare. Between the exceptional quality of the content put out here by Sheil and Tim and the value add of the comments, there really isn’t a reason to go elsewhere.

    • Cranky Caucasian

      The other site is troll central. Either local idiots or other teams’ fans just causing trouble. Was worried the same would happen here once it got going, but so far so good . *Knock on wood*

      • Joe from Easton

        I think the trolls get run off of here quickly because of the tight knit community of regular commenters.

    • Mason

      Agreed ! I left P.c@m during the DeSean fiasco and have never looked back.

    • PhillyTru

      Agreed. The comments are better, and the writers are better. I don’t comment much because the comments here are of such quality that there’s really nothing much else to add.

    • Adam

      Shhh.. don’t speak too loud. They’ll hear you.

      … no sudden movements.

      • virginia662

        my Aunty Julia got silver Volkswagen Beetle
        Convertible by working parttime off of a home computer… Look At This C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

    • myeaglescantwin

      it’s all about the writers. Smart people follow great work. Their effort is next level. They don’t write an article just to grab hits. Each one critiques a certain aspect that is key to the team. Very little speculation, and never any unfounded sources.

      most importantly. The only thing that their work lacks, is the rampant negatively of most philly writers.

    • mtn_green

      Philly.cam switched to disqus so look out they’re coming.

  • Dominik

    I just love this guy. “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.” Well, you could go on vacation, spend time with a hobby, look out and find a woman you could marry – he doesn’t think so. Football 24/7.

    Kelly will have some draft busts – everyone has – but it won’t be because of lack of work ethic from his part.

    Another great quote: “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.””

    • John E. Zang

      He has a great point with the cafeteria, janitor thing. So many people want to talk to people who are in support of the prospect and most likely get fake, cookie- cutter responses. Why not ask someone who doesn’t have any vested interest in seeing the kid succeed? I love this guy more every day.

    • Malcolm Jones

      Kelly leaves no stone unturned and is dedicated to winning…he seems to be just what we wanted and needed.

    • Dan

      He does have a hobby. Its called football. and to be honest its a pretty sweet hobby. travelling to pro days I bet is fun if you’re single. all expenses paid trip to somewhere new every week, spending time watching football and learning. new things sounds fun to me!

      and let’s be real, he also has a wife: Howie.

  • Explorer51

    This sentence from Sheil is how and why Kelly makes his personnel decisions, not only during the draft but also who he wants to keep on his team…and who he doesn’t: “Aside from evaluating their on-the-field skill set, he has stressed chemistry and fit time and again.” Clearly this was behind the Eagles off-season moves and it will play a huge part this coming week…guaranteed there will be both cheering and complaining from the fan base by the end of the day Saturday even though the results won’t be visible until September.

  • timesyours

    I like that he doesn’t have a family to distract him from football! haha

  • bushisamoron

    While I hope the NFL moves the draft back to late April, it does allow some of the injured college players to get a bit healthier and even work out for some teams if they were unable to do so earlier in the process. Can you imagine working your tail off through high school and college and when its finally your time to reap the benefits, a late season injury hurts your draft stock.