This Philadelphia Eagles Draft is Bigger Than Most


It’s a theme you hear echoed from the podiums of nearly every NFL team this time of year:

The way to build a team is through the draft.

Well, the draft is steadily approaching and, for the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s a big one.

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‘It’s big for every team,’ you’d be entirely justified to say. And that’s true. Whether you’re a bottom feeder hoping to pick the quarterback that will lead your franchise to glory or a perennial contender looking to find the missing piece… April’s (and now May’s) annual shopping extravaganza is a critical part of the year: The most critical, really.

Aside from the games.

But it’s bigger for the Eagles.

The Eagles aren’t a bad football team. They were a couple years ago. It netted them the #4 overall selection in the draft. And now they have a stud at right tackle that looks likely to be the foundation of the offensive line for a decade to come.

That’s the easy kind.

When you’re bad.

You take a quarterback if a great one’s there. If not, you take someone to protect your future quarterback. Or someone that can get after the other team’s quarterback. No-brainers.

The Eagles aren’t a great football team either. They don’t have the luxury of trading away first round picks like the Seattle Seahawks have made a habit of doing. Nor do they have the luxury of a stacked roster where even high draft picks need only add depth to prove valuable.

In sum: The Eagles are more than a hole-or-two away from being great. And they’re picking too low to have their selection be obvious (We all know who we think they’d take if they were picking right near the top.)

‘Okay,’ you might continue, ‘but that same logic could be applied to a whole chunk of teams picking from ten to twenty-five.’


But the Phildelphia Eagles are different. The Eagles also have this going on:

Chip Kelly has taken over. His success at the college level and his self-assured demeanor earned him critics and naysayers from the get-go. And despite relative success in his first two years, the stakes have risen dramatically.

2014 was followed by a dramatic front-office shake-up (as everyone knows by now) that left Chip Kelly in complete and total charge of an NFL draft for the first time.

Kelly has proven that he can outsmart and outpace NFL defenses en route to one of the best offenses in football over the last two years.

But his ability to outsmart opposing GMs has come into serious question in the wake of a few offseason stunners that have been, shall we say, unorthodox.

And now it’s draft time.

Nov 16, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly reacts in the fourth quarter during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There is no barometer more clear for an NFL coach/front office-man than the ability (or inability) to identify college talent that has what it takes to function in your system at the next level.

The people who identify that a guy like Bruce Irvin, despite not being considered worthy of a first-round grade, will be a dynamic jack-of-all-trades defender and that a guy like Russell Wilson, despite some physical short-comings (pun intended,) has everything it will take to lead your team… win Super Bowls.

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So do the guys that nab Hall 0f Fame quarterbacks in the sixth round and 1,000 yard receivers in the seventh. And turn seventh round-QBs around and trade them for high second round picks.

The other guys? They take Darius Heyward-Bey seventh overall and Vernon Gholston sixth.

The Eagles, one of the league’s best drafting teams for years under previous management, have regressed during the past few transitional years.

But it appears that the new establishment is firmly in place. Chip Kelly and hand-picked head of player personnel, Ed Marynowitz are in charge.

There’s no safety net.

No deflection.

The players that join the squad later this month (and at the beginning of May… which makes referring to the draft much more difficult) are the players Chip Kelly wants. The ones Chip Kelly thinks are best. The ones Chip Kelly believes will help him win a Super Bowl.

Some Eagles fans love Kelly’s bravado.

Some have been turned off by it.

The first group will sing a different song if the Eagles don’t win.

And the second group will jump on the bandwagon quickly if the Eagles win it all.

But, whatever the end result, the 2015 Draft will be a turning point for Chip Kelly and his Philadelphia Eagles.

Next: Eagles 5 Best Offseason Moves

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