Chip Kelly is a smart coach. While he wants bigger players, he’s not going to obsess on size to the point that he makes some really dumb decisions. Kelly wants talented players. His preference is big, talented players.
I do wonder how flexible Kelly will be. Take a look at Seattle to get a feel for a team that is really made up of individuals and not cookie cutter types.
DE Red Bryant – 6-4, 330 … huge player
DT Clinton McDonald – 6-2, 290 … only a backup, but small DT
SS Kam Chancellor – 6-2, 230 … probably the biggest Safety in the league
LB Bruce Irvin – 6-3, 245 … drafted to be a small DE, now playing as a good-sized LB
LB Malcolm Smith – 6-0, 226 … only a backup, but a small LB
DE Benson Mayowa – 6-3, 236 … only a backup, but barely bigger than S Kam Chancellor
QB Russell Wilson – 5-11, 206 … proving that QBs under 6-feet tall can win big
Pete Carroll and John Schneider have built a team that is truly made of individuals. At some spots, they have the smallest player in the league. At others, they have the biggest. Carroll does a great job of turning these individuals into a team. This isn’t a collection of players that is just thrown together. Each guy can do his job. His size is good enough for the specific role he’s been given. The players complement each other with their skill sets.
I have no problem withe Kelly preferring big players as long as he is willing to mix in some smaller players that are special playmakers. Deone Bucannon (6-1, 216) looks infinitely better than Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 190) when you just see the guys walking around. Put on the tape and it’s not even close. Joyner is unquestionably the better player.
Would you rather have Aaron Donald (6-1, 288) or Daniel McCullers (6-7, 348)? I guarantee you 32 of 32 teams would take Donald.
I’m really curious to see if Kelly does in fact add any small players with unique abilities. That would give us some insight into how and where Kelly is willing to bend his rules.
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A few of you have asked me about DE/OLB Marcus Smith from Louisville. I’ve mentioned him a time or two. I like Smith quite a bit. The first thing you notice is that he’s a natural pass rusher. He had 15 sacks as a Senior (25 for his career). Smith is 6-4, 258, which is ideal size for a 3-4 OLB.
Smith played DE and LB in college. He’s spent time in the 4-3 and 3-4. He can set the edge on run plays. He can get after QBs. Smith is also able to drop back into coverage and do an effective job. Nobody will ever mistake him for Derrick Brooks, but he’s functional and that is good enough. Any team taking Smith will see his primary job as being a pass rusher.
I don’t have a good feel for his value yet.
Some of you have asked about Jeremiah Attaochu. I do think he could end up being in the mix for pick 22.
The good news is that the Eagles don’t have to force a pick on a LB. There will be targets in the 2nd and possibly 3rd rounds that could come in and help. No matter who the Eagles pick, the player might sit behind Trent Cole in 2014. The Eagles won’t give that job to a rookie. He’ll have to earn it.