Inside the Pre-Draft Visits

 Chip Kelly introduced himself to Beau Allen by running his car into him.

“I was sitting and waiting to go in and meet with [Howie Roseman] and all the front office guys, and Coach Kelly was driving around a little remote control car –they use it out on the field because they can’t do motions — and he drove it right into me and was like, ‘Oh, hey Beau, how are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, Coach.’ ”

That was the lineman’s first hint that things are done a little differently in this organization. There would be more evidence along the way.

Toy cars aside, the Wisconsin product described his pre-draft visit to the NovaCare as “more formal” than the other seven he went on. He was handed a schedule upon arrival and was taken to meet pretty much everybody in the organization. He sat in a meeting room with the entire defensive staff and was put through mental exercises. Allen admitted that there were some nerve-wracking moments.

“They actually wrote up a couple of their defenses on the white board and I wasn’t allowed to take notes. Then they put on a cut-up and I had to regurgitate it back to them just from memory,” he explained. “I think I did well, I don’t think I messed up a single play, and I think that’s a good gauge of how you learn in a football setting from a white board and then apply it to video.

“No other team that I visited didn’t let me take notes. I thought that was kind of cool because you had to be on top of your game.”

The experience was similar for first-round pick Marcus Smith.

“They wanted to see if I could learn it fast,” said Smith. “They put [a play] on the board, erased it and put it back to me.

“The other teams put it on the board and would just talk you through it, just want to see if you can comprehend what they are putting on the board. But you see the Eagles, they put it on the board, took it off and started talking to me and started throwing stuff at you to see if you can comprehend it and [explain it] back to them. That’s the difference.”

One of Kelly’s sayings is, “Dumb people do dumb things and smart people rarely do dumb things.” He puts a heavy emphasis on football intelligence during the evaluation process. 

“There’s a very cerebral part to this game that I don’t know if people give enough credit to,” he said following last year’s draft. “It’s about making good decisions.”

After selecting Jordan Matthews in the second round, Kelly noted that the receiver demonstrated amazing recall during his visit to Philly, and was able to rattle off the exact situation in the game and even the route he ran the moment it came up on film. Safe to say he performed well in that meeting room. Allen did, too. The same likely applies to the rest of the eventual Eagles’ draft picks that visited the facility.

“It wasn’t as relaxed as some of the other interviews I went on, which is good,” said Allen. “A little stressful, but good.”