With the draft only a few weeks ahead of us everyone is speculating who the Eagles will select with the 4th overall pick this year. There seems to be a lot of buzz about Geno Smith being linked to the Eagles, and a lot of mock drafts have the them grabbing Smith to solidify their QB for the future. Yes it's true, when a new guy comes in and takes over a team he often looks for a guy who he can groom to be his on field general. However, I don't think Geno Smith is that guy. At least not at #4.
Everyone has been saying how this draft class is weak at the QB positions and it appears that every NFL team has taken notice as well. Recently more and more "QB needy" teams have been seen grabbing up players that have had past starting experience. The Bills signed Kevin Kolb, the Cardinals traded for Carson Palmer, and the Eagles even restructured Mike Vick's deal earlier this off season. What this tells me is that teams are gearing up NOT to rush and take a quarterback early on. In the case of the Eagles I hope it's true because there is SO MUCH talent at other positions in this draft class and Chip Kelly can afford to pass on it as he begins to rebuild this team.
So who does he take? I've come up with a short list of guys I think are "Chip Kelly Guys," players that fit what the mold of what he's come out and said he looks for in players. Guys who are:
1. Versatile. Kelly loves guys who cause match up nightmares. Who when they step on the field the other team doesn't know what to exactly expect. Kelly looks of multi-dimensional players like James Casey who was brought in this off season already. But don't just think that only applies to the offense. Look for Kelly to target guys who can play all over the front 7 on defense.
2. Athletic. Coach Kelly has spoken out about how he wants guys that run. He's said that he likes to have his offense scoring with in two minutes of getting the ball. He runs a fast paced, up-tempo game and his players of going to have to be able to keep up in order for it to work and be successful.
3. BIG. "We want taller, longer, people because big people beat up little people." - Chip Kelly. That says it all AND MORE. Don't look for him to target guys who might need to add a few pounds or get stronger. He wants guys who right out of the gate are going to be ready to man handle opposing players. Also his quote gives me the suspicion that he's going to want guys who are BAD! I'm not talking about guys with off field problems or character issues. I'm talking about WARRIORS men that aren't to get dirty and battle it out. Guys who walk around the field with a little swagger because they know they are the toughest guy out there and they're going to prove it!
Ok, now who meets that criteria, AND deserves a the 4th over all pick? Well here's my list:
1. Eric Fisher - OT
2. Dee Milliner - CB
3. Lane Johnson - OT
4. Dion Jordan - OLB/DE
5. Star Lotulelei - DT *Star did have that medical issue at the combine but has since been cleared. He also may not be AS athletic as most would like, but his size, talent, and versatility should make up for that.
Why a title of Trading Back then? Well, with many other talented players going also available like Luke Joeckel, Chance Warmack, Ezekiel Ansah, Sharrif Floyd, etc... It's unlikely that every other team sees these 5 guys that Kelly would. Not to mention there are still teams that might be desperate enough to reach on Geno Smith in the top 5 or 10. I say we let the Draft work for us.
If you are Kelly and these are the five guys you are the most high on then you have to believe that they will all go in the top 10. I believe that if the Eagles we to drop back to the back half of the top 10 at either 7 or 8 they could still grab one of these five prospects. My guess is that Fisher would be gone at that point along with Jordan and Milliner. Meaning we'd have our pick between Lotulelei, and Johnson. Not bad!
It mean's getting Arizona or Buffalo to trade up. They both still have question marks at quarterback despite both teams acquiring a veteran this recently. Buffalo seems to have the bigger need there because Kolb has struggled in Arizona and hasn't played up to the hype he had around him when he was traded from Philadelphia. If the Bills can be enticed to trade up to #4 so they can get Geno Smith, then the Eagles could slide back to the 8th pick. This would not only allow Philly to grab a guy who fits their system but should also net them AT LEAST the Bills 2nd round pick in this years draft as well. However, after what we saw Washington give up in order to acquire RG3 last season I'm willing to be the Eagles could get get a little more then just the Bills 2nd.