Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Chip Kelly prefers to draft college graduates

Chip Kelly

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly walks on the field during a joint workout with the New England Patriots at NFL football training camp in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


The Eagles’ first six draft picks all have one thing in common: They’re college graduates.

Eagles picks Marcus Smith of Louisville, Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt, Josh Huff of Oregon, Jaylen Watkins of Florida, Taylor Hart of Oregon and Ed Reynolds of Stanford have all graduated or are set to graduate at the end of this semester, and Eagles coach Chip Kelly said that’s important to him.

“No. 1, I think it shows you the intelligence factor, and No. 2, it shows that they’re committed to establishing goals and following through on their goals,” Kelly said on ESPN. “You’re face some adversity, whether it’s in school or on the football field. You’ve got a bunch of driven guys, and that’s evidence that they are driven. It shows you what we’re looking for here, that combination of mental toughness and that high football intelligence. That’s just another indication for us.”

There are obviously plenty of great football players who don’t finish college, and it’s not that the Eagles have a firm policy against drafting players who leave school early for the NFL. But Kelly’s way of thinking makes a lot of sense.