Danny Watkins, Brandon Graham, and Kevin Kolb are the most recent Andy Reid draft picks that come to my mind. All of them were top picks, that Reid and the Eagles shocked Philadelphia and the rest of the NFL with. And while Graham showed potential late last season, he has just 8.5 sacks through three seasons and was taken over All-Pro’s Jason Pierre-Paul and Earl Thomas. Danny Watkins has played just two years in the NFL, but he is already 28 and looks like nothing more than a backup at the NFL level. And Kevin Kolb, was the top pick in the Eagles 2007 draft but was taken in the second round, ended up being good trade bait for the Birds, but never gave the Eagles top-pick production. Overall Reid and the Eagles brass really reached making all three the top picks in their respective drafts, and none of them, at least to this point, have given top pick production.
Obviously Andy Reid is in Kansas City and has his own big choice to make today, but in Philadelphia we are a lot more concerned with the big decision that new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly makes with the number four pick in the draft. And to some extent, Chip Kelly can got out on a limb in this draft, because he is bringing a highly successful, yet unique system to the NFL, and no one knows exactly what Chip has planned. So in rounds two and beyond, I am in the mindset, that Chip is looking to get his type of guys, and I will accept whoever he picks, even if the player is considered somewhat of a reach.
However, at number four the Eagles need to get the best player. The Eagles need to get a player that will be a cornerstone to this franchise for at least a decade and perhaps beyond. For me the three guys that come to mind are the best three offensive-lineman in this years draft; Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, and Luke Joeckel. The Eagles will likely have the choice of two out of three of these lineman, as the Chiefs are likely to make one of them, my guess is Fisher, the number one pick.
While I would like to see an offensive-lineman taken with the Eagles first pick, I would be comfortable with the Eagles taking Dee Milliner, because I think he can be a shutdown corner, and the Eagles certainly need to rebuild at corner. I also wouldn’t complain if the Birds took Dion Jordan or Star Lotulelei, because the Eagles need a defensive anchor, and the nose tackle becomes that much more important now that the Eagles are switching to a 3-4.
So Chip has a lot of safe picks to choose from at number four. The only option that isn’t a safe pick at all that Chip could even potentially justify to the Eagles fanbase is Geno Smith. Smith has mixed reviews from scouts, but his mobility could fit Kelly’s perspective system, and if Chip feels that Smith can be the long-term guy in his system, he can sell the argument that the Eagles need a long-term quarterback and may never be in a better position to take one.
And if Smith works out, Kelly looks like a genius for taking him at number four. But if Smith fails, then not only does Chip have to add Smith’s name onto the list of Graham, Kolb, and Watkins, but his run as the Eagles head-coach may not last very long.
But hey Chip, no pressure. It’s only Philly. Only the Eagles first top-five pick of millennium. And the pick will only likely define Kelly’s NFL coaching career, whether it works out, or fails.