After leaving the state of Oregon, Chip Kelly traveled three thousand miles to Philadelphia and signed a contract for a new home. But this home was not new construction. It wasn’t a Toll Brothers McMansion. No, it’s been around for a while. It’s been loved. The real estate agent called it “charming” and said it had “good bones”, and Chip Kelly liked it a lot. And then he gutted it.
I’m not quite sure whether this scenario applies to the Philadelphia Eagles just yet. We won’t really know if the roster will be gutted until the start of the 2013 season. However, with all due respect to the players added during free agency, all reported to be the kinds of players Kelly needs, Kelly’s first NFL Draft is the time during which he can lay the foundation for his new football club.
This will be the time during which his legacy will really begin. Yes, Howie Roseman will be calling the shots, but Roseman will not be calling the shots alone. Kelly will collaborate and corroborate with him, as will former San Francisco personnel maestro Tom Gamble. But make no mistake, since Coach Kelly will be molding and coaching these players, they will very much be his.
Those players will be unveiled with unkind and cruel slowness starting Thursday, but unveiled with unprecedented excitement and anxiety. According to NFL.com and CBSSports.com draft analysts, the Eagles with the fourth pick in the draft will select Oklahoma LT Lane Johnson, BYU DE Ziggy Ansah, Alabama CB Dee Milliner, West Virginia QB Geno Smith, Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher, Alabama OG Chance Warmack, Utah DT Star Lotulelei, or Oregon OLB Dion Jordan.
Oh, and they could also trade back. The lack of expert consensus for the Eagles’ pick and uncertainty for all picks in the first round, combined with the fact that this is Chip Kelly’s first draft as Eagles’ head coach, makes the 2103 NFL Draft the most exciting draft for Eagles fans in a long time.
It seems to be inevitable that many of the players from the 2012 Eagles roster are not going to be on roster version 2013. After all, Roseman, Tom Gamble, and Kelly have signed nine free agents and look to add around nine more players in the draft. So while Kelly’s new home is not a new house, Kelly has the opportunity to upgrade some amenities.
But first, Kelly will get rid of the old, un-sturdy, unreliable studs. Then, as anticipation reaches its zenith on Thursday, he will use this draft to add some new ones, or… if not new ones, some actual ones, the kind needed to support a near-limitless ceiling.