Nov 23, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
For all of the reasonable Philadelphia Eagles fans, head coach Chip Kelly did what we had hoped for; he did not give up everything for quarterback Marcus Mariota. He did not trade away picks and pro bowl players for one player that will probably get hurt next year. He did not set the franchise back for years to acquire one player that is not an Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning-type.
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Instead Kelly opted to take a versatile wide receiver out of USC in Nelson Agholor with his first pick. He should be able to make an immediate impact next season (with the offense and on special teams). Then Chip traded up a few spots to draft a cornerback/safety from Utah in Eric Rowe. Rounding out the end of Day 2, the Eagles selected linebacker Jordan Hicks from Texas.
Eagles VP of personnel, Ed Marynowitz, told us last week that there were 8-10 elite players they pinpointed in this draft, with several starting-caliber players to be had in the middle rounds at offensive line, wide receiver and cornerback/safety. Seeing that the Eagles traded their two 5th round picks to move up and snatch Rowe in round 2, they must not be hot on too many of those “starting-caliber” players in the middle rounds because they also traded their 4th round pick to the Detroit Lions for a 2016 3rd round pick. This means the Eagles “may” not make a pick at all in rounds 4 and 5 of the 2015 draft. Maybe they feel the talent that will become eligible in next year’s draft is superior. We can’t be surprised if the Eagles trade both 6th round picks for another pick in 2016. But could the Eagles walk away from this draft with only 3-4 players when teams that usually draft well, such as the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, and New England Patriots, will end up with 6-8 players each? For Chip Kelly, Agholor, Rowe, and Hicks must really fit the bill.
At this point in time the Philadelphia Eagles actually appear to be sufficiently talented across the board (on paper). The running backs are stacked, the offensive line is stout, the tight ends (especially 3rd year player Zach Ertz) could be a vital unit in 2015, and with the addition of some free agents like Seyi Ajirotutu and Miles Austin, as well as 1st round pick Agholor, the receiving corp is coming along. On defense, the superb defensive line from last season remains in tact, the linebackers lost Trent Cole, but added Kiko Alonso and 3rd round pick Hicks, and the painfully bad secondary will be completely different from last year (except safety Malcolm Jenkins). Special teams was excellent last year and should continue in 2015 (Agholor should add a boost to the return game).
So it really does boil down to quarterback Sam Bradford. The team will live and die by Bradford’s arm. NFL’s Chris Mortensen has said, ”I mean I expect Sam Bradford to be the guy. I think if Sam stays healthy, and plays like Sam Bradford, he’s going to the Pro Bowl.”