I decided to take an entire week to go through all the facts and figures of last week's NFL Draft before releasing my official report card for the Eagles in Chip Kelly's first foray as both head coach and as the team's director of personnel. I broke things down by a few general categories as well as issuing an overall final grade.
Meeting Team Needs: B+
I really like the first round selection of former USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor. This position was a pressing need with the departure of Jeremy Maclin through free agency. One knock on Agholor is his overall speed, but he does bring a high-level of versatility to the table that should work perfectly with Kelly's inovative offensive scheme.
Moving-up to get cornerback Eric Rowe from Utah in the second round also helped this grade, especially since he was considered to be first-round talent by many draft experts. This also helped to fill a pressing need to add some immediate depth into a recently revamped defensive secondary that has been a thorn in the side of this defense for the past few seasons.
Kelly decided to stick with defensive players with his next four picks. While you cannot go wrong by adding even more depth to this side of the ball, Kelly missed-out on getting an easy A in this category by not picking-up at least one offensive lineman.
This was Kelly's lowest grade simply because of all the hype he created heading into this draft. Some experts had him trading away all his picks and half his current starters to go out and get his former quarterback at Oregon, Marcus Mariota. Instead, he decided to play things pretty much by the book in what turned into a very methodical seven rounds of picks.
Once again, I like the fact that Kelly used most of his picks to add some key depth to the Eagles' biggest weakness during his tenure with this team. However, adding three cornerbacks may have been one two many and inside linebacker was not a pressing need given the depth and talent of the players he already had on the roster at this position. I do like the fact that Kelly decided to draft players on the criteria of what they can bring to the team instead of the actual position they play, but lets hope that he can move some of these new additions around to make an immediate impact this upcoming season.
Adding Character Players: A
I may be getting a bit ahead of myself in this category, but on the surface, it appears that all six draft picks are players that not only have a high motor on the field, but also have the ability to be quality additions to the locker room. Kelly has already shown his complete lack of patience for guys that are more concerned with their overall stats as compared to the final score of a game. The release of DeSean Jackson was a prime example of this philosophy last season and the departure of LeSean McCoy this year continues to prove that there is no "I in Team" in Philadelphia.
Overall Grade: B+
Taking everything into consideration, I really like the direction that Kelly took in this draft. While some Eagles' fans may have been disappointed that he did not make a huge splash by pulling-out all the stops to move-up to get Mariota, I took Kelly at his word that he would not mortgage his team's future to make this deal happen. Love him or hate him, Chip Kelly continues to mold this team into his vision of what it will take to bring a championship to this title-starved franchise. Lets all hope that the six players he just added to the roster turn out to be a big step in the right direction to finally achieving this lofty goal.