Chip Kelly has quickly gained a reputation among NFL head coaches as someone that marches to a different beat when it comes to personnel decisions for his team. Last year he had no qualms about releasing wide receiver DeShawn Jackson even though he was coming off his best season as a pro. This year, he has really shaken things up by trading away his starting quarterback and running back while letting his top receiver depart via free agency. Given these past moves, speculation is still running high that Kelly is cooking-up some kind of draft-day trade or trades to land his former quarterback from his coaching days at Oregon, Marcus Mariota.
Most of the talk about making such a bold move is based on pure speculation and when you start reading about how the Eagles are going to trade for Johnny Maziel and Cleveland's first-round pick as part of this Mariota scheme it is time to seriously start checking the sources. I personally think that Kelly is going to play things pretty close to the vest on April 30 and select the best available player that fits the biggest need with the 20th overall pick in this year's draft.
Both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay get paid quite a bit of money as the top two NFL Draft experts in the country. This time of year they are regulars on ESPN with their mock draft projections and football fans all over the country tune-in to see which player their favorite team is going to draft in the first round. Both of these NFL Draft guru's have Philadelphia selecting Alabama safety Landon Collins in the first round.
This makes perfect sense to me given the recent departure of Nate Allen to Oakland via free agency along with the fact that the Eagles do not have someone in place to fill his shoes. Kelly has already given the defensive secondary a complete makeover with the addition of cornerbacks' Byron Maxwell from Seattle and Walter Thurmond III from the New York Giants while also saying goodbye to Bradley Fletcher, who is now in New England. This all combines to make safety the team's top overall need heading into the draft.
Collins is a logical choice given his athleticism and skill set. Another plus would be his ability to immediately fit in perfectly with defensive coordinator Billy Davis's scheme. He stands 6-foot-0, 228 lbs. and with the build of an outside linebacker he can provide both pass coverage as well as help against the run. The Eagles have not had an imposing figure at the safety position since Brian Dawkins roamed the secondary and right now (on paper) Collins appears to fit the bill.