10 Scouting Combine Prospects Who Best Fit Chip Kelly's New Eagles Offense
But while Steve Spurrier Syndrome should be avoided, Kelly has been brought in to implement at least some of the offensive tenets that made him so successful at the University of Oregon.
And so Kelly and his staff will certainly be looking for the types of players that suit Kelly's philosophy. That means skill position players with a lot of speed. It means strong, athletic offensive linemen. And it might even mean a quarterback who can take off at any given moment.
Here are 10 players you'll see at the 2013 NFL scouting combine that fit that mold.
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There might not be a quarterback in this draft class that fits Kelly's style as well as former Florida State Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel, who is by no means a speedster but has the ability to make plays with his legs.
Kelly also prefers quarterbacks who can get rid of the ball in a quick, efficient fashion while avoiding turnovers. Interceptions are criminal offenses in his mind. And while Manuel did throw 10 picks as a senior at FSU, he did so on 387 attempts (a solid interception percentage of 2.6) and while averaging 8.8 yards per attempt (eighth in the nation).
Manuel ran a pro-style offense at Florida State, but the Seminoles mixed in spread formations and even some zone-read while going no-huddle often. In other words, they ran the type of hybrid we might expect to see from Kelly at the next level. He's successful and versatile enough to suit Kelly's system.
Manuel thinks he would fit in well with this Eagles team, and it's hard to disagree.
Tavon Austin NFL Player Comparison
While former West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin would make the Eagles' offense even smaller than it already is, you would have to think that Kelly would be intrigued by one of the fastest, most athletic players in the draft.
Austin has experience in a spread offense as well as in a run-heavy offense, which is key in Kelly's world. But his biggest asset is his versatility. He can line up in the slot, out wide and even in the backfield. Combine that with his ability to contribute as a lightning-fast return man and you have a Randall Cobb- or Percy Harvin-type of weapon.
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Kelly is undoubtedly going to be keeping an eye on former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson because he's big, fast and versatile and because other talent evaluators might not be confident that Robinson will fit in anywhere at the NFL level.
While he likely wouldn't dare have him throw passes, Kelly could use Robinson as a utility back/slot receiver. If he plans on maintaining the tempo of the Oregon offense, he'll need a deep receiving corps with guys like Austin and Robinson.
First, though, we need proof that Robinson can, you know, catch passes.
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Like his former teammate Tavon Austin, Geno Smith comes out of West Virginia well prepared to succeed in a high-octane, fast-paced system. He has the athletic ability and mobility to make plays once they've broken down but he's a pass-first quarterback who has become extremely accurate.
Unlike Michael Vick, he might be built to handle the heavy dose of contact that comes with running Kelly's offense. Unlike Nick Foles and Trent Edwards, he might have the necessary athleticism. And unlike Dennis Dixon, he might also have the arm.
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Stedman Bailey doesn't have the explosiveness that college teammate Tavon Austin possesses, but he's been successful enough in a high-tempo offense to merit being a good fit for the new-look Eagles.
Plus, the man simply gets results. In similar offense last season, he racked up a ridiculous 114 catches, 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns. Like I said, if the Eagles are going to run a fast-paced offense with Kelly, they'll need lots of NFL guys like this who are familiar with the system and can step in right away in reserve roles. Bailey makes sense.
Luke Joeckel NFL Player Comparison
There are plenty of talented offensive tackles in this year's draft class, but Luke Joeckel stands out above the rest. In addition to that, the athletic left tackle comes from Texas A&M, where he operated within an offense that wasn't all too different from Kelly's at Oregon.
He held it together in that extremely fast-paced Aggies offense, so there's no reason to believe he can't become a stud under Kelly in Philadelphia.
We do, however, have reason to believe that Joeckel won't still be on the board when the Eagles are on the clock with the No. 4 overall pick on Apr. 25.
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Reid Fragel was sometimes dominant during his final year at Ohio State after converting from the role of blocking tight end to the offensive line. He's raw, but he has the power, strength and burst that Kelly desires from his offensive linemen, and he has experience in a spread offense.
He would be a project, but if Kelly and Co. like what they see from Fragel in Indianapolis and decide that they're confident in Jason Peters and Todd Herremans as their tackles for 2013, Fragel could be a nice mid-round pick.
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Kelly is expected to run the ball a lot at the NFL level, utilizing LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and an athletic quarterback often. And former Alabama guard Chance Warmack has the ability to start right away in an offense like that.
He's so strong and has the speed and power to rock defensive linemen just how Kelly would like. He'll open things up for those aforementioned backs by plowing into the second level, which is something very few guards can do.
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Jason Kelce's younger brother Travis would also be a nice fit for Kelly's offense, mainly because of his ability to impact games as a run-blocker.
Blocking in general is not an area where incumbent Eagles tight ends Brent Celek and Clay Harbor have succeeded, and if Kelly's going to run a lot of zone-read stuff in Philly he'll want to bring in a tight end who can offer that. The Cincinnati product is far from explosive, but it's a misconception that in order to have a high-octane offense every player has to be fast as lightning.
Expect Kelly and his staff to chat with Kelce at the combine to find out what exactly went down when he was suspended in 2010 for violating team rules.
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Kelly probably won't need to take much of a look at Kyle Long in Indianapolis because he coached the big, athletic offensive lineman during his final season at Oregon.
Long not only fits Kelly's system but he's been successful while in it, so if the Eagles don't use their top pick on a blue-chip candidate to become the next franchise left tackle, they'll likely look to take Long in Round 2 or 3 and put him at right tackle (moving Todd Herremans back inside).