To this point, Chip Kelly has been tight-lipped about who will win starting jobs and which players will become long-term fixtures in Philadelphia. The draft forced him to tip his hand a bit in regards to what kind of players he’s looking for and where he thinks the Eagles need help. Here are the guys who should read into the moves the Eagles made on draft day.
- Trent Cole – Cole survived the speculation that the Eagles would target an edge rusher early in the draft, but he’s not out of the woods yet. Coming off a down season, he will have to produce early in order to hold off Brandon Graham as the team’s pass rush specialist.
- Bradley Fletcher – The Eagles didn’t pick a corner until the last round of the draft, meaning that the organization is comfortable with Fletcher and Cary Williams as the opening day starting corners. Fletcher hasn’t been able to shake the injury bug, but he’s more talented than people realize.
- Brandon Graham – Instead of targeting Dion Jordan or Barkevious Mingo in the first round, the Eagles seem to like a young outside linebacker duo of Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. Trent Cole may eat into his snap count this year, but Graham can secure his role as the team’s primary pass rusher with a good season.
- Jason Kelce – Big guys often struggle to come back from devastating injuries, and the Eagles must be very confident in his recovery. They didn’t draft an interior offensive lineman, and Chip Kelly loves centers who are athletic enough to pull. Kelce’s athleticism could make him an offensive cornerstone.
- Chris Polk – The Eagles traded Dion Lewis and decided against drafting a running back, leaving Polk as the team’s third runner. He will have to hold off UDFA Miguel Maysonet for the job, but he impressed Chip Kelly in the Pac-12 and could see meaningful touches given the volume of plays that the Eagles figure to run.
- Jason Avant – A traditional west coast slot receiver, Avant should feel very threatened by Chip Kelly’s infatuation with tight ends. James Casey and Zach Ertz will likely eat up most of the snaps in the slot, and don’t be surprised if the Eagles cut the 30-year-old Avant outright.
- Michael Vick – Matt Barkley probably isn’t ready to beat Vick out right now, but Chip Kelly is sending a message that he does not need a mobile quarterback to win. All of a sudden, Barkley and Nick Foles will be given a much fairer shot at claiming the starting job. Expect Vick to be the man in 2013, but this will be his last season in Philadelphia unless the team improves dramatically.
- Danny Watkins – After drafting Lane Johnson in the top 5, the Eagles now have 5 clear-cut starting offensive linemen, and none of them are named Danny Watkins. The organization clearly does not view him as a legitimate starting option.
- Brent Celek – Chip Kelly says he will get all 3 tight ends involved, but nobody – including Kelly – uses 3 tight ends at the same time. He hand-picked James Casey and Zach Ertz, leaving Celek as the odd man out. It’s a shame, since Celek is easily the best blocker of the trio.
- Nick Foles – Many would list him in the stock up category since Chip Kelly has committed to giving pocket passers a fair shake, but if the organization didn’t prefer Barkley to Foles, they wouldn’t have drafted him. Contrary to what most Eagles fans will tell you, Foles has done very little to prove he can develop into a franchise QB, and his starting days may already be numbered in this league.