Eagles Wake Up Call: Kiper, McShay Bullish On Chip

Dak Dillon / USA TODAY Sports

Dak Dillon / USA TODAY Sports

How did Chip Kelly do in his first draft with full control? We won’t know definitively for some time. But many of the early reviews have been positive, including those from ESPN’s top draft analysts.

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay held a conference call with reporters to give their extended thoughts on the NFL Draft, and were mostly bullish when it came to the Eagles. Kiper believes the Nelson Agholor and Eric Rowe picks in the first two rounds “were really strong.” McShay is particularly high on Agholor — his choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

McShay offered this evaluation of the Jordan Hicks selection:

“Hicks was maybe a little earlier than I would’ve taken him, but I also really like Hicks and I think he’s a better football player than the measurables,” he said. “He plays physical, he’s always around the ball and I thought he really showed NFL teams that were at the Senior Bowl that he can cover and he’s a guy you can trust in zone coverage, man-to-man coverage. [He] really did a nice job matching up that week and I think he’s going to be a pretty good player for a long time in this league if he can stay healthy. He’s had some durability issues, so you worry about that just a little bit.”

Overall, Kiper gave the Eagles a B-plus for their draft.

Beyond the picks, both analysts also gave Kelly a thumbs up for his overall approach.

“What I do love about Chip is he’s committed to what he’s doing,” said McShay. “He’s not going to let public outside opinion sway what he’s doing and really up until the last few months, its been about getting the right guys in place and every time I talk to Chip, the phrase, ‘guys that buy in,’ he brings it up every time I talk to him and just wanting to make sure he has a roster full of guys that are buying in. And so whether it’s with the sleeping regimen, the nutrition, whether it’s with the mental aspect of it, that’s what you’re talking about.

“Obviously he’s made some decisions that the average fans at home are questioning, I guess, and there has been a lot of talk and he has been the lightning rod in the league. Tell me how his roster isn’t better. That’s what I don’t get at the end of the day. I think the roster is better today than it was when they ended the season last year and I think they got guys that buy in.

“So I’ll be interested to see, but I think the Eagles, they’re 10-6 the last two years. Everyone is up in arms, ‘Who is this college coach coming in to the NFL? How dare this guy from the college ranks come in to the National Football League and thinks outside the box.’ Well there’s a lot of guys doing it the National Football League way, the same way its been done as long as I remember and they’re not winning 10 games every year. So I’m not as quick to judge Chip as everyone else seems to be.”


Could Kelly possibly take a shot on La’el Collins?

Mark Sanchez is under the impression that there will be a quarterback competition this summer.

LeSean McCoy brings up race when dicussing his departure from Philadelphia.


Les Bowen of the Daily News profiles potential starting RG Allen Barbre:

Barbre said he “doesn’t really think of this as a last-chance opportunity” to start, but it almost surely is, and it could have been seriously threatened by a high-round draft selection on the OL.

The Barbre-for-Herremans switch still leaves the Eagles with three starting offensive linemen over 30, the same as last season, when injuries played havoc. Probably an even bigger concern than relying on Barbre to start is the continuing drama around left guard Evan Mathis. Mathis, who turns 34 in November, has spent the last two offseasons looking for a trade to a team that will rework his contract, which is scheduled to pay him $5.5 million this season and $6 million in 2016.

Ben Natan of Bleeding Green Nation scouts Hicks:

What also stands out about Hicks is how quickly he is able to diagnose plays and moves to the ball. He is an incredibly smart linebacker and rarely misses an assignment. As a tackler, he is very solid, but not violent. Expect him to make the tackle, but not make any game changing hits. This conservative nature is helpful for a lot of things, but also hurts him in other aspects of the game.

While Hicks does a good job carrying out his assignments, he does not really attack the line of scrimmage like you would want from a linebacker. He usually diagnoses, move towards the play and “catches” the ball carrier rather than meeting them in the hole or the backfield. This allows the running back to gain more than he should on any given play. Hicks is also timid when working in traffic, too often fearful of taking on blocks and rather tries to dance around them. His timidity takes him out of plays, which is the last thing you want from the man in the middle of your defense. It is not unfair to think that he was playing a bit scared due to his injury history and wanted to protect himself. Hopefully, going forward, he can play more comfortably and be more aggressive in attacking the play.

New CBA, new world when it comes to signing draft picks. The Eagles already knocked out half the class.


An NFC East draft recap, and more.

Tucker Bagley contributed to this post.