Report: Chip Wanted Matthews In First Round

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

According to Jason Cole, Chip Kelly wanted to pull the trigger on Jordan Matthews in the first round of last year’s draft, and was talked out of it by Howie Roseman. More from Cole (via Bleeding Green Nation).

“Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman were highly at odds over the first two years in draft strategy.  Chip Kelly, for instance, wanted to take Jordan Matthews in the first round this last year. Howie Roseman basically had to explain to him, ‘No, you’re going to be able to get a guy like Matthews in the second round.’ That happened in a number of other circumstances according to sources who I’ve talked to who understand the Eagles situation.

“So basically Chip Kelly is now going to have to formulate his own strategy and how he handles the draft board, and he’s going to have to hire another personnel person, and the question is: will that personnel executive, who Chip Kelly hires, be willing to stand up against Chip when he might be willing to overdraft a player and not understand the whole NFL strategy of the draft.”

On one hand, this shows that Kelly wasn’t necessarily in hot pursuit of Marcus Smith. But there’s a bigger takeaway here. This is the second anecdote that has emerged regarding last year’s draft where Roseman had to persuade Kelly to hold off on taking one of his desired targets. The first was offered by Kelly himself following the selection of former Oregon defensive lineman Taylor Hart.

“We had him rated a lot higher,” Kelly said. “I know I say that a lot, but that’s true for us. We would have taken him in the third. We’re fortunate. I think Howie did a great job of how we ordered it today. The other guy [Florida DB Jaylen Watkins] would be gone first, so let’s take him. He guaranteed me Hart would be there in the fifth, and he was right.”

Kelly has since assumed full command of the player personnel department, and Roseman is no longer in the role of general manager. More than ever, all aspects of player acquisition — including the draft — will be a Kelly-run operation.

Kelly is heading the search for new personnel executive, who will serve as his right-hand man. Ed Maryonwitz has reportedly emerged as a “serious candidate.” As the stories above illustrate, it’s important that whoever is brought in has both an independent voice and a firm understanding of the draft process.

Some have wondered whether Tom Gamble would be brought back in to fill that role. That is highly unlikely. A little more info on the Gamble storyline: