The three-day draft process was a blur.
As the Eagles made their selections, we heard from the new players and general manager Howie Roseman. Chip Kelly made himself available after every pick as well and was generous with his time. We’ve brought you many of his thoughts already in this space, but now that we’ve had a chance to catch our breath, here are five more Kelly quotes from the draft weekend.
1. “You can be a socialist and give the same amount to everybody or you can say one guy is getting 20 and another guy gets 5.”
That’s Kelly explaining the process for signing undrafted free agents.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, teams are allowed to spend $80,362 on all undrafted free agents. These are players who watched the entire draft without hearing their names called. But they can’t sit around and feel sorry for themselves. Instead, they (along with their agents), have to make sure they look at every NFL roster and identify the best fits.
The goal? Find a place where you have the best chance to make the team. When the Eagles made their initial cuts to 53 players last summer, nine players (17.0 percent of the roster) were originally undrafted.
If you’re wondering about the whole socialist thing, that’s not the approach the Eagles are taking. Based on various reports, they are offering different amounts of money to the various guys they’ve signed.
2. “It’s like six degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon?”
That was Kelly’s response when asked if it’s merely a coincidence that the Eagles selected players with NFL bloodlines.
Jordan Matthews is cousins with the greatest wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice. Jaylen Watkins is half-brothers with first-round pick Sammy Watkins. And Ed Reynolds’ Dad played in the NFL.
In short, there is really nothing to this. But in Watkins’ case, Philadelphia fans are hoping the streak of getting the wrong brother does not continue.
3. “That’s why I was kind of amazed that someone would actually want to write a movie about it, because it’s not that dramatic to be honest with you. You know what I mean? You just look at a board and go: ‘OK, what number are we? We pick? OK. That guy is the highest, let’s pick him.’ It’s not what I think some people think it is.”
I get the sense Kelly finds much of the draft a tad bit boring. The last thing the man wants to do it sit around and wait until it’s his turn to do something. During an ESPN interview, he rocked back and forth in his chair. And there’s the NFL Films footage of him before the Redskins game last year, complaining about having to wait for kickoff.
“Yeah, I’m on the move a lot,” Kelly said. “The good thing is we don’t always… we kind of get back to the room when we’re getting close, but everybody is kind of walking around the hallways up there.”
How long do you think Kelly has to be coach here before he allows Birds 24/7 access to the draft room? I’ll set the over/under at 2028. Maybe I should put in the request this week.
4. “We want to be bigger at the receiver position, but you would be crazy if you looked at Brandin Cooks and said we’re not going to take him because he’s 5-9. You know what I mean? He’s also a rocked‑up 190 some odd pounds and a physical player.”
We know by now that the Eagles targeted six players at No. 22, and none of them fell. The guess as to who the six were? Alabama LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks, LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr., Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller and either UCLA OLB Anthony Barr or Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier.
But the two that Kelly mentioned specifically as guys the Eagles liked were Cooks and Mosley. The Saints dealt up to No. 20 to take Cooks. If he fell to No. 22, I have a pretty strong feeling that they would have taken him rather than trade back.
On a sidenote, my goal for the summer is to either: a.) Have someone describe me as rocked-up or b.) Incorporate the term rocked-up into more of my writing.
The latter seems more likely to be accomplished.
5. “A lot of times it’s no different than you’re going to pick a job at Google or Liberty Mutual or a newspaper. What do you know about our company? Nothing. How excited is the employer about hiring this guy? Where is he with it?”
We kept track of the Eagles’ official visits during the pre-draft period. Some think this is a pointless exercise. But this year, specifically, Kelly brought up those visits with a number of players the Eagles picked. In all, five of their seven picks traveled to Philadelphia at some point before the draft. The only exceptions were Oregon’s Josh Huff (a player Kelly had coached) and seventh-round pick Beau Allen.
The purpose of these visits vary. In Taylor Hart’s case, the Eagles wanted to see where he was from a health standpoint. In other cases, it was simply a matter of trying to get to know the prospects better.
In Matthews’ case, you could argue that the interviews set him apart from his peers.
“It’s one of those guys, you ever meet someone… and he’s just like, ‘Mr. Roseman, nice to see you. I know you’re a Florida graduate and I went to Vandy in the SEC… and how are your four kids?’ Roseman explained. “It’s almost spooky. It’s like, ‘Alright, I’ve got you, you know who I am. I appreciate that.’ ”
It’s no secret that the Eagles value (are obsessed with?) chemistry and culture. And clearly, they want to take advantage of the pre-draft visits. In other words, this is something to probably keep an eye on next year once again.