Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Chip Kelly Pro Day round-up

Chip Kelly loves him some pro days. According to Bryan Fischer of NFL.com, Chip Kelly has attended "at least" 12 college pro days already. There's no "at least," Bryan. Your map is indeed accurate. However, there was one minor inaccuracy.

Chip Kelly Pro Day round-up

Chip Kelly loves him some pro days. According to Bryan Fischer of NFL.com, Chip Kelly has attended "at least" 12 college pro days already. There's no "at least," Bryan. Your map is indeed accurate. However, there was one minor inaccuracy.

The good news for Kelly is he likely had use of Jeffrey Lurie's private jet to help facilitate things. Sure he lost out on the frequent flier miles but at least he could avoid the long security lines he would have had flying commercial.

Philly.com has confirmed by an anonymous source with knowledge of the team's thinking on travel accommodations that Chip Kelly does not fly around in Jeffrey Lurie's private jet. He has flown around the country commercial, like the rest of us.

 

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OK, so maybe not like the rest of us. He's probably in first class. That's where they have the fudge on the bottom, which enables you to control your fudge distribution as you're eating your ice cream.

Let's round up where Chip has been, and what players he may have been watching:

March 3: Pittsburgh

The three main Pitt prospects this year are DT Aaron Donald, WR Devin Street, and QB Tom Savage.

Donald is likely not a target. To begin, he'll likely be gone by the time the Eagles pick, but he'll also be valued more by teams running a 1-gap 4-3 defense, which can better utilize Donald's burst at the snap. Outstanding player, poor fit.

At 6'3, 198, Street is one of many big receivers who will be available in the 2014 draft. Pitt liked to use Street close to the offensive line, often in the slot, where they could work him over the middle on quick slants. Street does a good job using his body to shield defenders from the football and making catches over the middle. While he didn’t have many TDs in his college career (16), he does have some attributes (size, hands catcher) which could make him a good red zone threat.

The Eagles are seemingly set at QB with Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley backing up Nick Foles, but Tom Savage is a player who has gotten some buzz lately.

March 7: Ohio State

There are four very good prospects from OSU this year. They are LB Ryan Shazier, CB Bradley Roby, RB Carlos Hyde, and OT Jack Mewhort.

Hyde is likely not a target. While the Eagles have repeatedly stated that they will pick the best player available, the one position where that really wouldn't make much sense at all in the first 2-3 rounds would be RB, and that's where Hyde will likely land. Meanwhile, Mewhort doesn't fit the athletic mold that the Eagles seemingly like in their offensive linemen.

The two players of interest here could be Shazier and Roby. At one point during the season, Roby was considered by many to be the best CB in the country, until Jared Abbrederis of Wisconsin shredded him. Now, Roby is likely to be available when the Eagles pick at 22, although there will likely be better players on the board. If the Eagles make a modest trade back, Roby could be in play. Ditto that for Shazier.

Or maybe Chip just wanted to hang with his boy Urban Meyer for the day.

March 11: Temple

Um, Chip had nothing better to do?

March 12: Alabama

Prospect overload. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, LB C.J. Mosley, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, QB A.J. McCarron, OLB Adrian Hubbard, OG Anthony Steen, CB Deion Belue, and WR Kevin Norwood are the biggest names.

Every Eagles fan who pays attention to the draft should know Ha Ha by now, who is considered by many to be the best safety prospect in the draft, although he'll likely be gone by the time the Eagles pick.

C.J. Mosley is a great player, but comes with medical concerns, which makes him nearly impossible for someone without access to his doctor to evaluate. Ditto that for Cyrus Kouandjio.

The player here who is somewhat intriguing is OLB Adrian Hubbard, who has tremendous size at 6'6, 257 and very good athletic measurables for his size, but didn't always produce on the field. He could be an OLB project for Billy Davis.

March 17: Louisville

While Teddy Bridgewater was the headliner of this pro day, Kelly was likely more interested in taking a peek at safety Calvin Pryor, who is a consensus top 2 safety in the upcoming draft along with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. Pryor is thought by many to be an obvious target. I'm not so sure.

The player at Louisville's pro day who was most  intriguing, in my opinion, was 6'3, 251 pass rusher Marcus Smith. Smith was 2nd in the country with 14.5 sacks, and showed impressive athleticism at the Combine. Smith could be a target in round 2 or 3.

Kelly reportedly dined at Beef O'Brady's in Louisville, according to this guy.

 

 

March 18: Florida State

So much awesomeness at Florida State. The biggest names are DT Timmy Jernigan, WR Kelvin Benjamin, S Lamarcus Joyner, LB Christian Jones, S Terrence Brooks, and LB Telvin Smith, although there are plenty more FSU players who will be drafted.

Benjamin visited the Eagles, and he's huge at 6'5, 240, which is fine and good, but I don't understand the love for him otherwise. If Benjamin is there in round 2, then sure, but not at 22.

The two players that I absolutely loooooooove for the Eagles are S Lamarcus Joyner and LB Christian Jones, both of whom could be 2nd or 3rd round targets.

I gush over Joyner here.

I gush over Jones here.

I also really like the ballhawking Brooks and the small but very fast LB Telvin Smith in rounds 3-4.

Important side note on Telvin Smith: At the Senior Bowl, he told me I look like Kurt Warner.

March 19: Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller has emerged as a potential target for the Eagles in the first round. My buddy Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com (via philadelphiaeagles.com) has the Eagles selecting Fuller in the first round, although he categorized it as "wishful thinking."

It might be wishful thinking for Fuller to make it to the 22nd pick. There are reports that some teams have him as their top rated corner. Fuller would be an excellent addition for the Eagles. He can press or play off. He is very instinctive and does a great job of shadowing receivers all over the field. Fuller has good body control, which allows him to break up passes without making contact and drawing flags. He broke up 10 passes in 2013. 

Fuller was a full time starter for the past three seasons and even started most of his freshman year. He is a physical player who will hit and tackle. He even played the "Whip Linebacker" position for one season, so he's not shy about contact. Bill Davis likes big corners who can disrupt receivers as they release from the line of scrimmage. 

The Hokies have another corner/safety hybrid in Antone Exum who the Eagles could view as an appealing versatile player in the later rounds.

And finally, there's QB (or is he something else?) Logan Thomas. Thomas is a physical freak of nature who had a disappointing college career after a very promising sophomore season.

March 20: Missouri

Missouri has a lot of good players, but I wonder how they fit with the Eagles. The best Missouri prospect is DE Kony Ealy, who actually reminds me a little bit of Vinny Curry. Both players have a great burst off the line, but can they play in space? Where do you put Ealy? Is he an OLB in a 3-4, or a DE? Like Curry, Ealy's best fit is probably as a 4-3 DE, so I don't think the Eagles would want to spend their first pick on another guy like that.

The biggest name is of course Michael Sam. At the Senior Bowl, Sam was a player of interest to me. Sam lined up both at DE and LB. He looked good as a pass rusher when he played DE, but looked lost in space as a LB. Sam's best fit is probably as a situational pass rusher in a 4-3, and those guys can be valuable. However, the Eagles already have a 6'2, 260-ish pound 4-3 DE who can rush the passer, but struggles with everything else. His name is Brandon Graham.

The biggest player of interest to the Eagles at Missouri is CB E.J. Gaines. Gaines is an undersized, but talented CB with good speed, instincts, and toughness in run support. A shorter player like Gaines could fall to the mid-late rounds, because many teams will view him only as a slot corner, which is less valuable. That's partly why Boykin was available to the Eagles in the 4th round. Gaines could be a late round pick who serves as quality depth at CB.

March 21: Vanderbilt

Matthews has great speed (4.46) for his size (6'3, 212), and is known as a hard worker. A knock on Matthews is that he drops a lot of passes. Sometimes that is correctable, sometimes it isn't, but Matthews is a very intriguing prospect on his size, speed, and production.

Another player that I like for his versatility in the 7th round is Wesley Johnson, who I profiled in depth here.

Vanderbilt concluded a stretch of 5 consecutive days that Chip Kelly attended a pro day.

March 27: Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel is a potential #1 overall pick, so I wouldn't worry too much about him. Ditto that for OT Jake Matthews, who will also be long gone by the time the Eagles pick at 22.

The real player of note to the Eagles is WR Mike Evans. Evans is a huge target at 6'5, 231 with 35 1/8" arms and a 37" vertical jump. His catch radius in this class is unrivaled, and his measurements are extraordinarily rare. Evans doesn't even need to be open to be open. Just throw it up, and he'll go get it. There isn't a better player in this draft at winning on contested catches. His freakish size aside, Evans can run after the catch, and he ran a 4.53 40 at the Combine, a great time for a player his size.

My personal believe is that it would be crazy for Evans to drop out of the top 12, but if he slid further than expected, he is a legitimate target for the Eagles to consider trading up.

April 5: Navy

This was not a pro day. Rather, Chip Kelly dropped by one of Navy's practices to make Will McKamey an honorary member of the Eagles. McKamey died after collapsing during a Navy spring practice.

Via Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette:

“It really means a lot that someone of Chip Kelly’s stature would take the time to come to Annapolis and honor Will in that way,” said (head coach Ken) Niumatalolo, adding that the jersey would be shipped to the Knoxville home of Randy and Kara McKamey. “That Coach Kelly wanted to do something special on behalf of Will, something to uplift his family, shows what a class act he is.”

April 8: Penn State

WR Allen Robinson has great size at 6'3, 220, and he had a vertical jump of 39" at the Combine. Like Mike Evans, Robinson is another "Throw it up and let him get it" guy. Robinson's straight-line speed isn't anything to marvel at, but he has very good quickness, especially for his size, and does a great job breaking tackles after the catch.

At 6'4, 322, DaQuan Jones could be an interesting player to consider in the middle rounds as a NT.

April 9: LSU

Another pro day, and two more really good receivers. Odell Beckham has big, strong hands, great RAC ability (a common theme among this WR class), and would be a far more explosive big play threat than Jason Avant out of the slot. Beckham is also a dangerous kick and punt returner.

His WR teammate Jarvis Landry is more of a football player than he is an athlete, as he had a very disappointing Combine. However, he almost never drops passes, has deceptive speed and run after the catch ability. He is also a tremendous blocker (a huge plus with Chip Kelly), and fearless over the middle. He's the kind of player you can plug into the slot on day 1, and expect results on special teams coverage.

Tommy Lawlor has more on the rest of a talented LSU bunch, but one more player I'll note is ILB Lamin Barrow. 

Dating back to 2003, the number 18 at LSU has been worn by the player who best represents what it means to be an LSU Tiger on and off the field. In 2012, that honor went to Bennie Logan, who the Eagles drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. The number 18 went to Barrow during the 2013 season. It's noteworthy that the Eagles gave Barrow some extra attention at the Senior Bowl.

Kelly is scheduled to attend one last pro day, which is likely April 16th at Georgia.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
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