The Eagles also needed a big wide receiver.
That issue was solved with the No. 42 overall pick in the second round. In fact, the Eagles traded up 12 spots to take Vanderbilt’s 6-foot-3, 212-pound wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
“The most important thing for a receiver, and I know I talked about big people beat up little people,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “That's more of a defensive philosophy for us. But at the receiver position, it's your ability to beat one-on-one coverage. We see it so much. Honestly, I don't think people really beat it. You're going to have to catch a lot of contested footballs. I think that's one of the things that makes Riley [Cooper] such a good target. Is that Riley's, you know, 6-4, 6-3 plus, 6-4. Coop's over 230 right now. I think he can muscle and go get the ball.
“I think people play defense so close in this league, that your ability to go get the football is really what kind of separates people. That's the one thing that was a tangible thing when you look at the film and look at him on film. That's what you see.”
Kelly also saw a player catch 112 passes for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns for the Commodores last season while competing in the Southeastern Conference, arguably the best league in the nation.
Defenses focused on Matthews and he still managed to rack up big numbers. Was that a factor in drafting him?
“That's a great question, and it's huge,” Kelly said. “I think a lot of times when you're looking at guys, it's apples to oranges. Can you say this guy had a productive, and had X amount of catches, but who is covering him? I think you saw more man coverage than a lot of other guys. Because I think in that conference, the defensive backs match up. In some conferences, they may only have one corner or two corners, so they play a lot more zone. In that conference, there is a lot of man. It's a defensive conference with some great football teams and great coaches.
"The remarkable thing you kept seeing with him is I think everybody knew when Vanderbilt went into the game that he was the guy that was going to get the ball. Obviously, he's the all-time leading receiver in that conference, yet he still kept getting the ball, so it's a credit to him.”