Eagles: Projecting Chip Kelly’s Draft Rankings At WR
An absolute mystery, that’s an easy way to categorize Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly’s thinking. But that’s from the outside, nobody really knows what’s going on in his mind, not even reporters that have all the sources in the world.
Kelly is just wired differently than anyone else in the NFL. But once he was given full control of the roster, he wasted absolutely no time getting his hands dirty. He made move after move that left many scratching their heads asking themselves what is he going to do next?
The answer is that no one really has an answer. One thing is for sure though, Kelly is bringing in the guys he wants to be in Philadelphia donning midnight green. He’s putting his stamp on the roster and it’s clear at every position, he has certain traits that he looks for.
As the new man in charge, Kelly certainly has his hands full at wide receiver. In back to back offseasons, he has lost the team’s best player at the position. Luckily for the birds, the 2015 NFL Draft is stacked with prospects of all sorts of shapes, sizes and skill sets at wide receiver.
Now it’s up to Kelly to find exactly what he wants out there and bring them in. The team spent a second round pick on Jordan Matthews and a third round pick on Josh Huff in last year’s draft. It’s hard to get an exact grip of what Kelly really likes at wide receiver but he does value athleticism, versatility and run after the catch ability. He clearly doesn’t want to deal with any attitudes or off the field issues, doesn’t seem to worry much about dropped passes either.
That being said, I felt it was time to take a stab at the dangerous mind of Kelly and how he might rank the top twenty wide receivers in the upcoming draft. Keep in mind, this is all about their fit in Philadelphia. Taking into account how a prospect is built and performs both on and off the field. Here’s my attempt at Kelly’s potential rankings:
The rankings may seem a bit standard if you keep up with most lists but there are some shake-ups based on what I think Kelly could potentially be thinking. For example, the first thing that may stand out is there is absolutely no Dorial Green-Beckham on this list. He raises way too many red flags and honestly isn’t that great of a prospect on the field either. Then there is a bit of a rise in players like Nelson Agholor and Tyler Lockett because of their route running skills and overall versatility as both receivers and returners as well. Here are some short “snippets” on each of the wide receiver prospects I listed above:
1) Kevin White, West Virginia: Although he’s basically a one year wonder, White is an absolute monster. At 6-3, 215 lbs., he has the size that team’s dream of at the position and when you pair that with his ridiculous athleticism and sure hands, there really isn’t a major flaw in his game. It also helps that White is a clean prospect off the field so he would be the perfect prospect at receiver for the Eagles and Kelly but it just won’t happen.
2) Amari Cooper, Alabama: Cooper was the consensus top wide receiver in this year’s class for quite some time, but that was before Kevin White blew up the combine with his performance. That doesn’t make Cooper any worse though, he’s still a fantastic prospect. He may not possess insane size at just 6-1, 211 but he has a complete skill-set and will a #1 receiver for years and years in the NFL.
3) DeVante Parker, Louisville: If this was almost any other draft class, Parker would probably be the top overall wide receiver. He’s hetting put on the back burner because of the rest of the talent in this class but Parker is everything you need in a top receiver at the next level. He has good size at 6-3, 209 lbs. with long arms (33 1/4″) and solid speed (4.45 40-yard dash). He’ll do most of his damage in the short and medium game but can go deep if necessary.
4) Jaelen Strong, Arizona State: Now this is the first prospect that Kelly can potentially get his hands on without trading up. Strong likely has the best hands in the draft and that’s a huge compliment considering the company he shares. But Strong is great at going up and getting contested catches as well, especially high-pointing the ball. For his size at 6-2, 217 lbs., Strong is also great after the catch which is something Kelly values highly. He struggles to separate but in Kelly’s uptempo scheme that gets players in space, that won’t be much of a problem.
5) Breshad Perriman, Central Florida: Perriman may be the hottest prospect in the draft right now, after posting an insane 40-yard dash at his pro day that was clocked in as low as 4.22 seconds. That’s ridiculous considering he’s 6-2, 212 lbs., but that doesn’t always translate on the field. Perriman gets a little sloppy with his route running and drops some easy catches. But Kelly doesn’t worry about the drops, that didn’t stop him from drafting Jordan Matthews last year and that was a concern with his game as well. Perriman reminds me a bit of Demaryius Thomas because of his size, speed and run after the catch ability. He would definitely be a scary weapon in Philadelphia’s offense.
6) Nelson Agholor, Southern California: The Eagles and Kelly have been showing Agholor a whole lot of attention, and rightfully so. His measurables won’t blow you away at 6-0, 198 lbs. but what seperates Agholor from the rest of the pack…and cornerbacks, is his route running ability. He is very technically sound and although he isn’t a freakish athlete, that allows him to still make big plays on the field. He’s drawn comparisons to former Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and I could see him ironically filling Maclin’s spot in 2015.
7) Tyler Lockett, Kansas State: Here is the first prospect that may shock some people with where I have him ranked. Kelly absolutely adored Odell Beckham Jr. in last year’s draft and admitted he had him ranked as the best prospect in the draft. If there’s one player that reminds me of “OBJ”, it is Lockett. He has a slight build at just 5-10, 182 lbs., but he plays much bigger than he is listed at. Lockett is a spectacular route runner and is an explosive return man as well. Just look at this route in the video below that he ran against Jason Verrett, who now plays for the Chargers…just made him look silly. Lockett is tiny but packs a punch and has the versatility, explosiveness and toughness that Kelly could fall in love with.
8) Rashad Greene, Florida State: Once again, another prospect Kelly might rank higher than other teams. Greene has the versatility and ability after the catch that the team looks for. He’s got a small build at 5-11, 182 lbs., but makes up for it with savvy route running and his ability to make plays once the ball is in his hands. Greene lined up both outside and in the slot at Florida State so he has the experience playing multiple spots, not just the ability to do so. Greene struggles with drops, but as mentioned before, Kelly doesn’t care much about that. Greene actually held a private workout with the Eagles and Kelly was in attendance as well.
9) Devin Smith, Ohio State: There may not be a better big play threat than Smith and he is eerily reminiscent of former Eagles wide receiever DeSean Jackson on the field, who Kelly infamously released. But he doesn’t carry the attitude problems or any of that baggage. The knock on Smith is that he isn’t the most versatile receiver in terms of the different routes he can run and although he’s a decent 6-0, 196 lbs., he plays even smaller. Smith also struggles against physical cornerbacks, which he’ll certainly see at the next level. But his speed and ability once the ball in his hands is very enticing.
10) Sammie Coates, Auburn: If wide receivers were ranked just off how they appeared, Coates would be up there. He’s a chiseled player that looks like he’d be an absolute monster on the field. But Coates just isn’t consistent enough. He appears lost at times and will run the wrong route or just drop an easy pass that even me or you could catch. Even though he can be frustrating at times, Coates just has all the tools a prospect needs to be an elite receiver, it’s just a matter of him putting it all together and performing on the field.
11) Devin Funchess, Michigan: This may surprise some people since it’s a bit lower than what the consensus ranking seems to be for Funchess. I understand he has a ton of potential and ridiculous size at 6-4, 232 lbs., but “Funch” has some attitude problems. He appears to be in his own world sometimes on the field and not locked in to the task at hand. That may rub Kelly the wrong way and cause him to drop a bit on the Eagles’ board.
12) Phillip Dorsett, Miami (Florida): Just call Dorsett dynamite because he’s a tiny package that is ready to explode at any moment. Standing just 5-10, 185 lbs., he isn’t the most imposing player but once he “turns the jets on”, it’s over. His speed on the field is unbelievable and he backed up that speed by running a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine and then a 4.25 40-yard dash at his pro day. Most players would be happy with that first time but not Dorsett, he isn’t human. Although he still has work to do as far as the technical aspect of being a wide receiver goes, his speed and explosiveness is rare.
13) Justin Hardy, East Carolina: One of the most reliable targets in the draft, Hardy has a great hands. He catches practically everything thrown in his general direction, it’s like he has glue on his gloves. Hardy is a great route runner even though he wasn’t asked to run a wide variety of routes. He has outstanding footwork in and out of breaks and really knows how to comeback and attack the ball. I actually had the pleasure of interviewing Hardy for a draft profile I wrote earlier in the “draft season” on him.
14) Chris Conley, Georgia: Here comes the run on ridiculous athletes and physical specimens that other teams may not be that high on. Conley lit up the combine and dominated a ton of the drills with his speed and leaping ability. He posted a 4.35 40-yard dash, 45″ vertical jump, 139″ broad jump and 18 bench press reps of 225 lbs. Combine that with his 6-2, 213 lbs. frame with 33 3/4″ arms and Conley looks like a created character in Madden. He didn’t put up insane numbers at Georgia but that was mostly because of their run heavy offense. When called upon, Conley made plays including ridiculous catches like this one…and oh yeah, this one is pretty good too:
15) Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas: Lewis put his name on the map with a great performance at the Senior Bowl against a top level of competition that he never faced at Central Arkansas. At 6-4, 213 lbs., Lewis has the size any team looks for in a top receiver but he’s still raw and learning the game. He dominated small school competition and relied a bit too much on his athleticism at times. But Lewis is oozing with potential and has the size and athleticism which will be tough to pass on during the third day of the draft.
16) Darren Waller, Georgia Tech: I understand Waller had a couple of suspensions during his time at Georgia Tech but it doesn’t appear to be anything too serious and never lasted longer than a single game. At 6-6, 238 lbs., Waller is just another one of those freakish wide receivers out of Georgia Tech. He uses his size well on the field and has surprising vertical speed as well for his size. There may not be a better boom or bust prospect at wide receiver to take a risk on than Waller, that’s for sure.
17) Tre McBride, William & Mary: There may not be a better highlight tape among wide receiver prospect in this year’s class than McBride’s. He makes circus catch after circus catch that just makes you scratch your head. He dominated a lower level of competition because of his ability to high point the ball and make insane, contested catches. But can McBride really make a living in the NFL making catches like that? He has to show that he can separate with his routes and not just rely on making crazy catches.
18) Vince Mayle, Washington State: He doesn’t have a wealth of playing experience that many of the other prospects have but Mayle is very promising. He’s shown an impressive ability to make big plays for his size at 6-2, 224 lbs. The biggest knock on Mayle’s game is the amount of drops he had in 2014, 14 total, which is far too many. But like I mentioned a million times before, that won’t turn off Kelly. The potential is there, Mayle has a very high ceiling if he can put it all together.
19) Kenny Bell, Nebraska: If you’re going to talk about Bell, the first thing you need to bring up is his magnificent afro. In all seriousness though, Bell is a lanky wide receiver that has dangerous deep speed and can get behind a defense quickly. He made big catch after big catch for Nebraska and his ability to create separation was a huge reason for that. Bell likely didn’t get the plays called for him that he should have but the potential to be a deep time threat is there, reminds me of Kenny Stills.
20) Antwan Goodley, Baylor: Goodley reminds me a whole lot of current Eagles wide receiver Josh Huff. He has a thick build at 5-10, 209 lbs., looks more like a running back than a wide receiver. But that may be exactly what the team is looking for since Goodley is explosive with the ball in his hands and plays surprisingly bigger than he is listed. Goodley may have better vertical speed than Huff does but sadly he has the same issue with drops as well. He has also lined up in the slot, outside and even at running back for Baylor as well. Goodley could be a steal if he ends up being drafted late on day three of the draft like many are predicting.
There you have it, my trek inside the mind of the evil genius, Chip Kelly and how he could potentially rank the wide receiver prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft. When the event starts, there will be a plethora of prospects available and Kelly will be like a kid in a candy store with all the options available. It’s just all up to him now to identify which players will fit best in his offense and the culture he’s building in Philadelphia.
Next: Philadelphia Eagles: Signing Miles Austin Was A Smart Move
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