Eagles stuck to board, avoided temptations

PHILADELPHIA – Time will tell whether the Philadelphia Eagles made the right choice in selecting Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith with the No. 26 overall pick in the NFL draft.

It’s also natural to wonder if they passed on other quality players.

The Eagles originally held the No. 22 overall pick, but traded down with the Cleveland Browns.

And the Browns took Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Was Manziel a consideration for the Eagles?

“We're always going to go by our board,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “I love him, I think he's a dynamic quarterback. I think we have a very, very good quarterback situation, not only with Nick (Foles), but you add Mark Sanchez in, Matt Barkley, we think quarterback is a strength for us right now. We felt like the pass-rusher who we had rated higher was the guy we were going to take.”

The Eagles have a major need at wide receiver since they recently released three-time Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant. Deciding to pass on USC wide receiver Marqise Lee had to be difficult.

“Yeah, I think Marqise is an outstanding player,” Kelly said. “I wouldn't be surprised if by the time I get back upstairs he's not there. But I think we spend so much time on ordering it, so that when you get into the situation like 'where do we go,' it's a simple thing. We've had them all rated for a long time, and our board is our board. When you get in there you don't turn around and go 'oh, I kind of like him.' Well, we've had since last year to stack the board the right way.

“If we liked him, that should have been a discussion a while ago. So we were going to follow up. That's what you do rationally. You can't let emotion get into it. I think Marqise is a special kid. I tried to recruit him coming out of high school, and [he] had a tremendous career at USC. But for us, we think Marcus was the right pick.”