There will not be a bad time to take a swing at former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. Evan Mathis did it. Other assorted ex-Eagles have done it. In a report by NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo today, a “former member of the front office” says Kelly overrode his scouts’ decisions and literally put their preferred draft selections in the garbage.
The source, who is definitely not a scout who left under bad terms with Kelly, said Kelly didn’t want anyone else’s input when organizing his draft board. The unnamed person said that Kelly was the one who wanted linebacker Marcus Smith in the first round of the 2014 draft. (Smith has been a bust through his first two seasons.)
“Right before that draft, the scouts set the board,” the person said Tuesday. “Then Chip got a hold of it and totally turned it around. Scouts had no say at all in that draft. Anybody that Chip didn’t want, that player’s card got removed from the board and thrown in the trash. Those guys were never even in the discussion.
“Almost immediately, you had a lot of scouts looking around and wondering, ‘Why am I even working? Why the hell are we even here?’ We put all of this work in, put the information in and Chip changed everything and took whoever he wanted to take.”
Whether it was Roseman who took public responsibility for Smith or Kelly who ultimately pulled the trigger on the Louisville linebacker, it is fair to say that the decision was far from unanimous in the war room that night.
“Personally, I had Smith with a third-round grade,” the source said. “That was one of the shockers of the first round — that he went as high as he did.”
The disagreement over Smith would have happened before Kelly received unilateral power and the team fired vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble in 2015. Then-general manager Howie Roseman lost the battle for control, until the Eagles fired Kelly this winter. Roseman’s now the executive vice president, and Kelly learned a lesson: if you want to make all the decisions, they can’t suck.