Chip Kelly Wanted to Take Jordan Matthews, Not Marcus Smith in First-Round


Part of understanding the changes in the Eagles front-office is trying to understand what both Howie Roseman and Tom Gamble did so wrong that neither will be involved with evaluating player personnel this off-season. (Gamble was fired, so he won’t be involved with anything in the organization.)

The first-round selection of Marcus Smith, who didn’t record a single tackle in eight games, would be enough for someone to lose their job. While it remains unclear whether Tom Gamble or Howie Roseman was behind the pick, we learned this weekend that it was not Chip Kelly’s doing.

Via Bleacher Report NFL Insider Jason Cole

; Typed out version of audio below

courtesy of Bleeding Green Nation

"“Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman were highly at odds over the first two years in draft strategy.  Chip Kelly, for instance, wanted to take Jordan Matthews in the first round this last year. Howie Roseman basically had to explain to him, “No, you’re going to be able to get a guy like Matthews in the second round.” That happened in a number of other circumstances according to sources who I’ve talked to who understand the Eagles situation.So basically Chip Kelly is now going to have to formulate his own strategy and how he handles the draft board, and he’s going to have to hire another personnel person, and the question is: will that personnel executive, who Chip Kelly hires, be willing to stand up against Chip when he might be willing to overdraft a player and not understand the whole NFL strategy of the draft.”"

So Chip is free from blame for the Marcus Smith pick. That said, the fact that he needed to be told that Matthews would be available later in the draft, which he was, is scary considering he won’t have Howie in his ear this year.

Even if it was Tom Gamble, not Howie or Chip, that wanted Marcus Smith, either Chip or Howie should have talked him out of it. If Howie was so sure that the Eagles could move up to get Matthews in the second, perhaps he could have suggested taking Bradley Roby, who played a solidly at corner for the Broncos this year and would have been an improvement over either Bradley Fletcher or Cary Williams.

So it appears that both Chip and Howie were wrong with their first-round assessments, regardless of who they wanted to take. Jordan Matthews may have been a projected first-round pick that played well in his rookie season, but your draft-board has to adjust as things go along. If you can get Matthews in the second-round, or any of the plethora of receivers that were available in that area, you can spend your first-round pick addressing another position. Technically, the Eagles tried to add linebacking depth with Smith, but so far he has all the makings of being a bust.

Roseman, unless we find out otherwise, gets at least partial blame for Marcus Smith. Either Smith was his pick or he didn’t object to Gamble making the pick in the war-room. Given that Roseman was able to talk Chip out of making both the Matthews and Hart picks too early, it’s impossible to make the case that he didn’t have any power in the war-room last year.

Expect leaks from the Eagles front-office to continue coming out following front-office shake-up. The next leak will probably be along the lines of “Howie never wanted to re-sign Riley Cooper”. (I’m half joking.)

Either way, Chip Kelly (and whoever he chooses to be his version of a General Manager), will get full credit/blame for any moves from here on out. Kelly needs to get a much firmer grasp of where players should be taken in the draft. Their can’t be another Marcus Smith type pick in the first-round, nor can he reach for Taylor Hart in the third-round, when he eventually was able to get him in the fifth. Color me skeptical of if he can do that.

H/T Bleeding Green Nation