PHILADELPHIA -- While at the podium discussing the selection of Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews at No. 42, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly was asked about his pick from the day before.
Did the Eagles take a player in the first round who was projected by most experts in the second or third round?
The Eagles ultimately drafted Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith with the No. 26 overall pick.
"I think it's what makes sports great," Kelly said. "Everybody has an opinion. But I'd let him step on the field and play a snap for us before anybody makes a decision. It's like anything. Was it a good pick or a bad pick? When you draft someone in the sixth round and say 'Hey, we got a steal.' My first question is why didn't you take him in the fifth then? If you're so smart and you knew what you knew and you know everything about the draft and you knew the guy was going to be an All-Pro or the people that brag about, 'We got a sixth-round pick and he became an All Pro player', the first question is why didn't you draft him earlier if you're so smart?
"A lot of times you don't know," Kelly continued. "Our best player at New Hampshire, we were smart enough to let him walk on at our school. It's the same thing. You offer scholarships and you've got five-star recruits and everybody is like he's our guy, and the first day at practice, you're like, who is that guy? Oh, he's really good. You did a great job letting him be a walk-on. We didn't do anything. It's just like when the undrafted free agent comes out of nowhere. If you did a really good job, you would have drafted him. So you don't know how it's going to pan out. Just going through the analytics of it, 50 percent of all first-round picks don't make it. And that is through the history of time. So it will work itself out."
It all starts soon. Once Smith arrives in Philadelphia and eventually suits up in games, then everyone will know about his skill set.
Including the Eagles.
"We'll get an opportunity to go there," Kelly said. "We saw enough on him. I think he's a quality person. I think he has the intangibles that go along with the tangibles. You look at his numbers from an athletic standpoint and they compare favorably. If you look at what he ran at the combine, height, width, speed and what Khalil Mack did. Not saying I wouldn't take Khalil Mack too if I had an opportunity to do it. But why one is here, you don't know. Why did Clay Matthews go 26th a couple years ago? There were 25 teams not smart enough to see it. Why did Aaron Rodgers go where he went? I don't know. We could be right, we could be wrong. You have to let the whole thing play itself out."