Sunday, April 20, 2014
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A smart, sensible pick for Kelly and Roseman

They likely could have done something flashier, but the Eagles decided that solid was the smartest way to go.

A smart, sensible pick for Kelly and Roseman

Eagles first round draft pick Lane Johnson. (Craig Ruttle/AP)
Eagles first round draft pick Lane Johnson. (Craig Ruttle/AP)

Smart, simple: the first pick of the Howie Roseman/Chip Kelly, an offensive tackle from Oklahoma named Lane Johnson, was just that.

Over the years, the Eagles have gotten into the most trouble when they have over-thought things, when they have outsmarted themselves. And make no mistake: there was plenty of opportunity here for the Eagles to outsmart themselves.

Given that tackles Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel went 1-2 in the draft, the squeeze was quickly put on teams that needed a tackle. Given that Miami traded up into the third spot to take Dion Jordan -- presumably because the Dolphins thought Kelly would take his old Oregon defensive end/linebacker -- there likely were several teams who might have been talked into making a deal with the Eagles to move into the No. 4 spot. Kelly said that no one inquired, but this was the last big-time tackle and there might have been possibilites.

But the Eagles did not trade. They did not finesse. They saw a guy they liked, they saw an athletic tackle, they needed an athletic tackle for this new offensive system, and they did not blink.

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I like it. We all have seen this team, in past seasons, attempt to prove that they were the smartest people in the room. To be fair, they did some smart things in the past. The way they have manipulated their picks in the later rounds of the draft really has been smart and profitable.

But in their first big spot together, Roseman and Kelly chose a solid, sensible guy who fit both the coach’s philosophy and the long-term needs of the franchise. We don’t know if Johnson can play, obviously, but the reviews have been good and the athletic potential is interesting.

Yes, it is a little weird that the guy used to play quarterback. But, well, at least he’s never been a fireman (that we know of).

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