Philadelphia Eagles: Trust Chip, He is Smarter Than You


Nov 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly reacts during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Eagles defeated the Raiders 49-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly has taken the team and their fans on a wild ride. After gaining full control of the Eagles roster, Coach Kelly has shown that he isn’t afraid to make some bold moves. None of which were more surprising than when he traded quarterback Nick Foles and a couple draft picks to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for quarterback Sam Bradford and a draft pick.

What? Why? Huh? Immediately shocked by this trade I began to wonder what was going on. What was Chip doing and how does this make sense. The Philadelphia Eagles had needs, trading the current quarterback for an expensive injury prone veteran quarterback wasn’t one of them. After much thought, I came back to my old mantra, “Trust Chip.”

Some of these moves might not be what you expected as a fan, but remember one thing, Chip Kelly is smarter than you. Trading for Sam Bradford was not only a good team move, it also shows just how smart he really is. As things currently sit, the Eagles have two options; keep Sam Bradford as the Eagles quarterback in 2015, or use Bradford as part of a trade to move up and draft former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Option One: Sam Bradford is the starting quarterback of the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles

Aug 23, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I will admit, I was initially not happy with the thought of Sam Bradford as the quarterback for my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. I kept asking myself why Coach Kelly would get rid of a cheap/young quarterback and bring in and expensive/”old” quarterback? I decided I would do some research on Bradford, after all, all I “knew” about him was the he is coming off his 2nd torn ACL in as many seasons.

As the old saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover. When I dug deeper into the tape on Sam Bradford, I began to notice his accuracy. Eagles fans should be very happy to know that his accuracy is top notch. You now don’t have to worry about Nick Foles throwing perplexing interceptions.

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Bradford is also surprisingly mobile and can throw on the run. During his time in St. Louis the Rams rarely ran play-action passes, but when they did, Bradford had nearly a 66% completion percentage. He keeps his eyes down field and often showed the type of throws that made him the overall 1st pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Not every play was incredible. He is human and I expect there to be a few bumps in the road. Bradford has a career completion percentage of 58.6%. That is a very low number. However, when I watched the tape I saw a lot of dropped passes from perfectly thrown balls. I think that percentage is more a product of his team and the talent around him.

While in St. Louis, the Rams often had one of the lower rated offensive lines and was never home to stud pass catchers. One shocking statistic to keep in mind that Bradford was in a tough situation in St. Louis is:In 2+ season period for the St. Louis Rams, Sam Bradford had 3 different offensive coordinators, he had 30 different receivers catch passes and had a mind boggling total of 23 different offensive lineman.

You can see the video here.

Option Two: Sam Bradford is part of a trade to draft Marcus Mariota

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota throws a pass during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

From day one, I have been totally against the Philadelphia Eagles “trading away the future” in draft pick to move up and draft quarterback Marcus Mariota. In fact, I have written multiple articles here on Inside the Iggles voicing my opinion, but what if the “price was right” for Mariota?

To be fair, one of the posts was written before Head Coach Chip Kelly was given control of the ship. That article, ‘The Philadelphia Eagles will not get Marcus Mariota Next Season, was based on the idea that the Eagles had bigger defensive needs and that trading up would cost to much. The second article, ‘Marcus Mariota and the Unpopular Hypothetical‘ was pointing out that college production doesn’t equal NFL production.

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Don’t get me wrong, one misconception most pro-Mariota people have is that just because other people don’t want to trade up, that we don’t like Mariota. False. Most of us, and my in particular love the guy, I think he would make a great quarterback in Philadelphia. I just think we have lots of needs that one player can not cure alone.

Marcus Mariota will be impossible to reach, the cost will be too high, then it hit me. I went back and looked at previous big time draft trades and began to also look at the NFL Draft Value Chart that former Dallas Head Coach Jimmy Johnson developed. I was shocked/confused when I looked at the chart.

Before I get to deep, let me start by saying this is total speculation, but teams having agreed to draft day trades prior to the draft are not uncommon. Sometimes these trades are muti-step trades that can only be agreed to if the draft falls in a favorable order.

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So lets start. A few weeks ago, the New York Jets and football media had shared a combined article that said that if Marcus Mariota fell to pick number 6, the Jets would trade that pick to the Eagles. The deal seems to already be in place. This “news” alone isn’t going to make Eagles fans confident that Mariota will be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Next, after aquiring Sam Bradford, Head Coach Chip Kelly said in his press conference that a few teams had already reached out to him offering a 2015 1st round draft pick in exchange for Sam Bradford. As it turns out, that team was the Cleveland Browns and they were offering the 19th pick in this years draft.

According to the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart, if the Philadelphia Eagles had both pick 19 & 20, they could bundle those picks and acquire a higher pick between picks 4 & 5. That means that trading 19 & 20 should be enough to get the Jets 6th pick.

So, if Marcus Mariota falls to the 6th pick, the Eagles in theory could trade Sam Bradford to the Cleveland Browns for their 19th pick. The Eagles could then bundle picks 19 & 20 to the NY Jets in exchange for the number 6 overall pick and draft their guy.

Now I know most of you are probably saying “those picks alone are not enough to move up, remember that the Washington Redskins gave up 3 first round picks to move up 4 spots…” This is true, but to understand that situation you have to think a little differently. Try to think of these picks as their point value.

The Redskins moved up to get quarterback Robert Griffin III, their quarterback of the future. Their franchise guy. Making that trade they were probably under the assumption that this guy was their missing piece. The quarterback that would help them stay in contention and help them deep into the NFL Playoffs and potentially a Super Bowl.

If you are expecting to finish deep in the playoffs, your draft picks would range from the 29-32 range. The Draft Trade Value of those picks is much more minimal than those in the higher areas of the draft. For example, pick 31 has a value of 600. If the Redskins “gave away” 3 years of the 31st pick, the overall value of that would be 1800 points.

1800 points is the value of the number 4 overall pick. If you think of these values, the Redskins thought they were swapping first round picks and giving away the equivalent of the number 4 overall pick. Not so bad right? The problem is that the Redskins didn’t end up deep in the playoffs. They needed more pieces to the puzzle and took a gamble that backfired.

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