Eagles head coach Chip Kelly met with the media Friday night after the team selected Vanderbilt wid receiver Jordan Matthews with the 42nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
CHIP KELLY: We just selected Jordan Matthews. I think the first thing you do is you look at his numbers. I think they're off the charts. He's the all‑time leading receiver in SEC history. He's 6'3". He's a little heavier than he was at the combine, 217 pounds. He ran 4.46 at the combine. Great wing span, vertical jump. Intelligent kid that graduated college in three and a half years. We're really, really excited to get him. I think it played out the way we were hoping to play it out. We really liked him, and we had the big conversation last night in the draft room with him and Marcus. How we do it, we thought the pass rusher would go first. So we took him and held our breath on what it was for us to get up to where we didn't think at 54 he was going to be around, and he made the move to go up. But I think gaining the extra pick when we went back, so we had two threes instead of having a four, it worked out perfectly. So we have two third round draft picks and two guys that were the targeting, and we ended up getting them. Sometimes it plays out the way you want it to, other times it doesn't play out. But I think right now we're pretty excited.
Q. There are still a lot of wide receivers on the board. What separated Matthews that convinced you that you want to trade up for him?
CHIP KELLY: That's a good question. I think the one thing we talked about is man coverage. The one thing he does is catch the ball in traffic. He made an unbelievable amount of contested catches. You know, he's got such a wing span and will go up and get it, and can play both inside and outside. We're probably going to start him inside. If we've got Jerry Maclin on one side and [Riley Cooper] on the other side and throw him inside, and he has experience. So I think the kind of thing that would separate him from some other people is he does have experience. Only a couple guys in the draft that we felt you could at least see on film that played both inside and outside. Some are inside receivers some are exclusively outside receivers. We felt he was one of those guys that could do both. He's got the speed to play on the outside. He's got the size. He can do a lot of the different things that we can do. The big thing for us is the intangible things that Jason Avant brought playing inside that slot receiver, being a physical guy, and I think he can do that along with exploiting man coverage.
Q. How much does the competition he's facing week‑in and week‑out in the SEC factor into his evaluation?
CHIP KELLY: That's a great question, and it's huge. I think a lot of times when you're looking at guys, it's apples to oranges. Can you say this guy had a productive, and had X amount of catches, but who is covering him? I think you saw more man coverage than a lot of other guys. Because I think in that conference, the defensive backs match‑up. In some conferences, they may only have one corner or two corners, so they play a lot more zone. In that conference, there is a lot of man. It's a defensive conference with some great football teams and great coaches. The remarkable thing you kept seeing with him is I think everybody knew when Vanderbilt went into the game that he was the guy that was going to get the ball. Obviously, he's the all‑time leading receiver in that conference, yet he still kept getting the ball, so it's a credit to him.
Q. Is it important to have a wide receiver with size?
CHIP KELLY: The most important thing for a receiver, and I know I talked about big people beat up little people. That's more of a defensive philosophy for us. But at the receiver position, it's your ability to beat one‑on‑one coverage. We see it so much. Honestly, I don't think people really beat it. You're going to have to catch a lot of contested footballs. I think that's one of the things that makes Riley such a good target. Is that Riley's, you know, 6'4, 6'3" plus, 6'4. Coop's over 230 right now. I think he can muscle and go get the ball. I think people play defense so close in this league, that your ability to go get the football is really what kind of separates people. That's the one thing that was a tangible thing when you look at the film and look at him on film. That's what you see.
Q. As a follow‑up to that, you spoke about reconfiguring the position. How does this factor into that?
CHIP KELLY: Just the same thing. The number one thing we're going to see, is we see a ton of man. I think people match up to us because of what we do and the speed and tempo that we play. It's the easiest thing to get lined up quick. Hey, you've got him. It's the next play to line up again. I've got him again. If we're going to see it a lot, how do you get guys that exploit that coverage? I think that's what we do. In a league where sometimes people put smaller guys in the slot, we wanted to put a bigger guy in there. I think that match‑up, if you're a smaller DB is going to play in the slot and have to match up with a 217 pound guy that can run 4.46.
Q. Are you surprised that you were able to trade a fourth-round pick to move up?
CHIP KELLY: Nothing surprises me. No. Seriously, I see some picks, and Buffalo traded one next year to move a couple places. And somebody in the first round yesterday traded a 5 to go in the one spot. I think it's who you're dealing with, and everybody's value is a little different. Obviously, there is a chart that you follow, but there is nothing that really surprises me. We tried a lot yesterday. What was going to get us to where. But I think the one thing is we're very conscious. We still think there is depth in this draft, so we're not going to sell our souls to move a couple spots. I think we've got a plan going in.
We were fortunate. I think there is a nail biting time going in. Same thing as I said yesterday. There were six guys that we're taking if we could have moved up. But the price to move up is too rich. But we weren't going to give a second to move up so far in the first and come out of it with one player. We feel that the situation we're in right now you're going to get four top players out of 86. We think that's pretty good for us at this current time. So we'll see. But we could do some more things in the third. So, you know, I don't know. What is the [newspaper] deadline tonight?
Q. You're good.
CHIP KELLY: We're good? What if we start dealing at 83 and 86?
Q. What triggered the move up tonight? Did you know? Did you figure you were going to do this or did something happen that made you think you better?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, we had two guys we were targeting and one went. So we had to go. We had to go. It's when do you go and what's it cost you? The earlier you go, the more it costs you. So it's kind of when are you in? When aren't you in? The other thing in a lot of situations is who is willing to deal? Because there are a lot of spots, and it happened last night and it will happen tonight. You'll call and say, hey, we'd like to do this, and they don't want to do it. It's the same thing. At 22 we were ready to move. At 26 we didn't get any calls. So you can kind of say you hope it works one way. But there is always going to be a partner you're going to get with.
Q. Were you surprised a player of that caliber fell out of the first round?
CHIP KELLY: No, again, there is value where. We talked about it today when you come back in. These three days the draft is the biggest spectacle of everything, and why it's turned into that, I don't really know. By Monday it all falls back in. I think we have two outstanding offensive linemen that we re-signed. Jason Peters was an undrafted free agent. How that happened, I have no idea. And Jason Kelce is a sixth round draft pick. Tom Brady is a sixth round draft pick. So we all, everybody, I'm not blaming anybody. Everybody goes crazy about the draft, and he's a first, he's a second, he's a third. And then on Monday, it doesn't matter. It's who is the best player, as we go back to that.
I said it last night, I think Marqis [Lee] is a heck of a football player. We played against him. I still have visions. He had like 500 yards in two games against us. I certainly know him. Recruited him. I think he's a great player and I think he'll be a great player in this league, so we were trying as hard as we can. We had two guys targeted here in the second, and we got one of them. And we're really excited about it.
Q. Is Marqise Lee the other one?
CHIP KELLY: I'm not going to tell you who the other one is, but it's not that hard.
Q. Did you talk to James Franklin at all?
CHIP KELLY: I did. When I went to Penn State's Pro Day, I got a chance to visit with their staff. I went to Vandy's Pro Day, and I know [Penn State offensive line/run game coordinator] Herbie [Hand] and [Penn State offensive coordinator/tight ends coach] John [Donovan], their offensive coordinator. And those two guys, one of the things they said is that [he’s] the most competitive guy that they've ever been around in terms of his confidence and his work ethic. I think it's just ‑‑ I think everything Jordan does, and when you get a chance to see him, he went to Vanderbilt and graduated in three and a half years. He's the all‑time leading receiver in SEC history. I mean, when you just keep adding it up, if you look at the resume, he's 6'3", 217 pounds, runs 4.46, there are not a lot of holes there. So you're going to get a guy that's going to give you everything he's got, and we're really excited to have him, and we'll see what we can do with the third here.
Q. The way the receivers were, there were so many different sizes, shapes, how they run. Did you find yourself ‑‑ was it hard to evaluate and find separation with a lot of these guys? Was it almost getting nit‑picky as far as what they do?
CHIP KELLY: I don't think it's nit‑picky. I think it's what you believe fits for you. Because you can say that guy's a heck of a receiver, but we're kind of looking more towards this. And that's where there were so many and there are still other guys out there that I think are going to be outstanding players in this league. We may take another one. It depends on how it goes here. I still think there is a lot of talent. But that is the one position I think ‑‑ I don't know how it ends up, and I don't think in a draft you can ever really analyze until a while out in terms of how they turn out in terms of being professionals. But the receivers, there was no question on the depth. I think at some other positions, it fell off very quickly. There is a run, and then all of a sudden, there is not a lot left at that position. But I still think there are top‑notch quality receivers left in the draft, and we'll see how it plays itself out. I think in that question, it's not as much being nit‑picky. It's what are you looking for? I think for us, the unheralded position for us and maybe the misconception is trying to find that guy to replace Jason Avant inside was a big deal for us. Because Jeremy Maclin, we have outside, and Riley Cooper outside. So really trying to find who that is. We've got some guys on our team that are competing for that right now. But to be able to throw Jordan in the mix with those guys gives us more confidence as we move forward.
Q. Are the offensive concepts you run similar to those of James Franklin?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, I think there are certain things that everybody does. But when you watch them on film, they do some really good stuff. I would say we do some things they run. There are [things that] probably every team in the country when you look at them on film, they're running something. Your receiver on X amount of routes, they run a go route, a post, an X, a corner. The one thing about him and how they used him, you could see his whole game. Some guys are just stuck outside or stuck on one side in certain offenses and they don't switch that. He did everything. When they went to spread sets, he came inside and played the inside receiver, so you saw him work inside against people and saw him make a ton of plays outside. Catching screens, catching deep balls. When you have as many catches as he's had in his career, he's probably run every route out there.
Q. What have you seen from him on screens? I think he caught like 40% of his catches on screens last year?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, he's a big, physical guy. So when he catches it, he can go. He's got outstanding speed. He caught a screen I think it was in the bowl game against Houston and turned the corner. He was down the sideline for a 70‑yard touchdown. He can separate from that standpoint. But I think he's got some physicality. He gets up the field and gets positive yardage in terms of him catching the ball. That's one of the reasons that James and that staff at Vandy used him in that manner.
Q. You mentioned the silliness of this draft and all this.
CHIP KELLY: If I said silliness, I apologize.
Q. Just how it's overhyped a little bit. I'm sure it's gotten back to you about Marcus Smith and how people in this town ‑‑ some draft analysts had him as a second or third round pick. What have you made of the reaction to that pick? And where he was selected?
CHIP KELLY: I think it's what makes sports great. Everybody has an opinion. But I'd let him step on the field and play a snap for us before anybody makes a decision. It's like anything. Was it a good pick or a bad pick? When you draft someone in the sixth round and say ‘Hey, we got a steal.’ My first question is why didn't you take him in the fifth then? If you're so smart and you knew what you knew and you know everything about the draft and you knew the guy was going to be an All-Pro or the people that brag about, ‘We got a sixth-round pick and he became an All‑Pro player’, the first question is why didn't you draft him earlier if you're so smart?
A lot of times you don't know. Our best player at New Hampshire, we were smart enough to let him walk on at our school. It's the same thing. You offer scholarships and you've got five-star recruits and everybody is like he's our guy, and the first day at practice, you're like, who is that guy? Oh, he's really good. You did a great job letting him be a walk on. We didn't do anything. It's just like when the undrafted free agent comes out of nowhere. If you did a really good job, you would have drafted him. So you don't know how it's going to pan out. Just going through the analytics of it, 50% of all first-round picks don't make it. And that is through the history of time. So it will work itself out. We'll get an opportunity to go there. We saw enough on him. I think he's a quality person. I think he has the intangibles that go along with the tangibles. You look at his numbers from an athletic standpoint and they compare favorably. If you look at what he ran at the combine, height, width, speed and what Khalil Mack did. Not saying I wouldn't take Khalil Mack too if I had an opportunity to do it. But why one is here, you don't know. Why did Clay Matthews go 26th a couple years ago? There were 25 teams not smart enough to see it. Why did Aaron Rodgers go where he went? I don't know. We could be right, we could be wrong. You have to let the whole thing play itself out.
Q. Going into the draft, you could say that your two biggest needs were outside linebacker and wide receiver and those were your first two selections. Is that coincidence or something to do with how you framed the board?
CHIP KELLY: It's not how we framed the board, but I think what was available in here. There were some positions in our opinion as we look at it, and we have to look at it through our eyes, that there weren't a lot of players there. And that's just right, wrong or whatever. When you look at it, it doesn't look like it was a quarterback draft when they only had three go. One went early and two went late. I don't know. There could be someone picked in the second and third round. A couple years ago, I don't know exactly. You have to look up who the quarterbacks were [that were] taken high. But I think [Nick] Foles and Russell Wilson are in the same draft. They're Pro Bowl-type quarterbacks. And they both went in later rounds. It just kind of went that way. We felt there were just a certain amount of pass rushers and that's why our decision [was made] and those guys were kind of even toward the end of the first round for us [in terms] of which one are we going to go with? We thought the pass rusher run would be done quicker than the receiver run was done. But we certainly had guys we targeted. But I think everybody going into this knew the receivers in this draft were as deep as it's been in a long time. But in some other positions it wasn't.
Q. Does the fact that he's related to Jerry Rice have anything to do with it?
CHIP KELLY: No, but it's not a bad thing. I think you're going to look at it, but I don't think we make determinations of who is this kid's tree and who is this kid's tree. We're not that deep in our analytics. We may start though if he turns out to be a really good player. We'll find out who else Jerry is related to.