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The Philadelphia Eagles entered the draft with a plan. After going out and getting a new head coach, with a completely different offensive philosophy, they’ve shown they’re embracing change. They have a roster that is loaded with talent. Many of the same players that on the roster have been here since Vince Young referred to them as the dream team. They have certainly been knocked down a notch or two since those days, but they can turn it around at any time. Coming off of last seasons horrible 4-12 record the Eagles decided to part ways with long time head coach Andy Reid and installed Chip Kelly, head coach from Oregon, as his replacement. This was Kellys first draft as an NFL head coach and he and general manager Howie Roseman have looked to build a foundation for success.
With the 4th overall selection the Eagles drafted Lane Johnson, OT out of Oklahoma. Johnson has an enormous amount of upside and could end up being the best tackle in this draft. He has good athleticism and played quarterback, tight end and defensive end before moving to OT the past two seasons. However, this also means he lacks some experience at the position. He has very good feet in pass protection and as a run-blocker, and he plays with an edge and won't back down against any defender. In new head coach Chip Kellys offense one thing is for certain, the offensive lineman have to be very athletic. One of his hallmarks is running a high volume of plays, something the New England Patriots saw a lot of success with last season. Lineman in his scheme need to be the whole package; block in space, be flexible enough to get to the second level and have the conditioning to constantly push the pace. Johnson will be able to give the team exactly what they are looking for. He has experience in a fast paced offense and he is a very gifted athlete. If left tackle Jason Peters is healthy, Johnson can line up immediately at right tackle and move last season's starting right tackle Todd Herremans inside. That strengthens this entire unit. If Peters isn't what he once was physically, Johnson gives the Eagles insurance at left tackle.
With their next selection, 35th overall, the Eagles took Zach Ertz, tight end from Stanford. Ertz should be able to step on the field and make an immediate impact in the passing game. One of the things he brings to the team is flexibility. By being able to move around he the staff will look to create favorable match ups that can take advantage of his strengths. He runs routes very well which will allow him to create separation underneath. He should also be able to work the seam well downfield which can open things up for the other players. The downside is that he is just an average blocker, hopefully he’ll improve enough to be serviceable. If teams are tipped off to a pass play by his presence on the field he’ll lose some of his effectiveness. This new offense Chip Kelly is going to rely of flexibility and different personnel groupings. Brent Celeck is likely nearing the end of his career and the other tight ends on the roster don’t offer much in the passing game. The new trend in the NFL is having players that offer versatility. It allows offenses to show different looks with the same personnel group, confusing the defense more than usual. Ertz will let the Eagles take advantage of that principal even more than usual, because of his athleticism. New offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is a huge advocate of using the tight end position, so we will likely see Ertz and Celek on the field together a lot.