The NFL Scouting Combine is a new experience for head coach Chip Kelly. So before heading to Indianapolis for the biggest job fair in the NFL, Kelly made sure he used every resource available to get ready.
Speaking with NFL Network's Path to the Draft crew, Kelly said that he's been able to learn from the members on his staff with previous NFL experience.
"We spent some time as a staff understanding what we want to get accomplished while we're here, and really me just listening to guys who have been here," Kelly said. "And we have a lot of guys on our staff, (like running backs coach) Duce Staley and (tight ends coach) Ted Williams, guys who have been at the Combine for a long time. I try to listen to them and find out what it's all about."
And while Kelly may not know the ins and outs of the Scouting Combine just yet, he knows what he'll be looking for from players. The drills are important, Kelly said, but he also wants to see what the players do when they think no one's watching.
"It's about evaluating them," Kelly explained. "There are a lot of things to do. What are they doing in between drills? What's their attentiveness? Are they paying attention to what's being coached, and how are they with their teammates? There are a lot of different things you can pick up on."
One player Kelly will have to focus on a little less than the others is former Oregon linebacker/defensive end Dion Jordan, a player NFL Network's Mike Mayock recently said could be a fit in Philadelphia.
"I have a pretty good understanding of Dion," Kelly said. "I don't know what Mike saw in terms of his skill set, but I just know Dion's a special kid. I was with him for five years. He came in as a wide receiver, moved to spend a year at tight end, was a great special teams player for us and he's one of those guys, and I've been around him on a day-to-day basis for five years, so I kind of know how he's wired. He's special."
Because Kelly has spent his coaching career in college, the Scouting Combine presents an opportunity for Kelly to meet with players he had previously tried recruiting. This time, however, Kelly is the one who gets to make the decisions.
"Some of these guys, I told them, 'It's not the recruiting process anymore. If we draft you, you have to come play for us,'" Kelly said. "So there are more guys in this that I didn't get a chance to coach, and I'd like to get a chance to coach."
At this point, Kelly hasn't even had a chance to coach his own players. He said that tape will only get him so far, and that the coaches will need to see the team during the pre-draft minicamps before making any final judgments on his roster. That means there won't be an answer at the quarterback position in the immediate future, though Kelly likes what he's seen thus far.
"I think Michael still has the skill set to be an outstanding quarterback in this league," Kelly said. "I know Nick Foles because I had a chance to coach against Nick when he was at Arizona. And then we bought Dennis (Dixon) in to compete, and we still have Trent Edwards.
"We're trying to get as many guys as we can and get a chance to look at them, but you really can't really make a decision on anybody until you get a chance to coach them and practice with them. People want to know who the starting quarterback (will be) in September, and I want to know who the starting quarterback is going to be in September. We've always been about competition, and we're going to let this thing play itself out."
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