Not going to do an in depth draft breakdown until later this week, but I did want to throw a few notes/comments up before then:
– It’s possible that Chip Kelly has an informational advantage over the rest of the league, for now. As a college coach, Chip recruited/scouted/coached a lot of these players before. Of course, every team had ample time to scout before the draft, but actually game-planning for a player or getting to know him while he’s in high school might provide a better insight into that player’s pro potential. I wasn’t thrilled with last year’s draft process; I though a trade down in the 1st round made a lot of sense and felt the team reached for Bennie Logan. However, as it stands now that draft looks pretty good. Therefore, I’m inclined to give Chip the benefit of the doubt for the time being. That doesn’t mean I’ll hide my skepticism, it just means the “process” might deserve more credit than we can give it from an outsiders perspective. If this advantage does exist, though, it will only last another year or two, so the team needs to take advantage of it now.
– Notice I kept saying “Chip”, and not “Howie and Chip”. If there was any doubt remaining about who is really making decisions, this past weekend should have cleared that up. Two Oregon players? A trade up for a WR? Chip is the one making the call, for better or worse.
– On the whole, I liked the players selected but didn’t like where they were taken. The draft is an exercise in probability and value-maximization. I think the Eagles fell short in this regard, Regardless of how these players pan out. Smith was clearly a reach, Howie pretty much admitted it. Reaching for need generally does not work out…. Also, please don’t put too much stock into the “someone else was ready to take him” stories. EVERY time there is a “reach” pick, there’s inevitably some “source” that says Teams X, Y, and Z were ready to take the player if Team A passed. That’s a bit convenient, isn’t it? If there were other teams ready to take a guy like Smith in the first round, SOMEBODY would have mentioned it as a possibility. Instead, Chip decided he NEEDED an OLB out of this draft.
That’s why free agency is so important. If you go into the draft with NEEDS, it makes it very difficult to maximize value, because you’re always scared you’re going to be left with a big hole.
Note: This DOES NOT mean Smith isn’t going to pan out. He seems like a great fit for the defense and his speed/cover experience should help a lot. However, the Eagles likely missed out on some additional value by not trading back farther (Howie said he didn’t want to go as far as the options he had) or taking a different player at 22 and rolling the dice to see if Smith was there at 54 (or trading up from 54 to get him, as they did with Matthews).
– I spent most of the pre-draft period talking about the WR position. Needless to say, trading up for one wasn’t one of my preferred strategies. I’m happy the Eagles ended up with Matthews (see his comparable players from mockdraftable.com below), but going up to get him like that is a low-probability move.
– Two Oregon Ducks. Really? Again, not saying they’re bad players, but what are the odds that the Eagles, going with a BPA strategy, just happened to select 2 of Chip’s former players? This could go either way, of course, hopefully he knows these guys well. But if could also mean he’s letting personal bias into the equation, in which case there’s a serious “process” problem.
As I said, I’ll have more later this week. Until then, salivate over the following. Demaryius Thomas, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Jones, Josh Gordon…pretty good company…