Kelly and Roseman run smooth draft operation

Kelly and Roseman run smooth draft operation
May 16, 2014, 8:00 am
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In two years together, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman say they haven't come across any major disagreements in terms of the draft. (AP)

It’s what everybody wants to know when it comes to the draft. Who has final say? Who has the final word? What happens when there’s a disagreement in the draft room? Who makes the final call?

Chip Kelly or Howie Roseman?

Ask Roseman and Kelly and they insist nobody does.

“I think everybody wants to know that -- what really happens in there,” Kelly said. “But it never gets to that point.

“I think we look at it, analyze it, and kind of come to the same conclusion. But I haven't yet sat there and, ‘I want him and he wants him,’ and then, you know, are we going to box for it? You know what I mean?

“It just hasn't gotten there. I think we can sit down and reason with it.”

Kelly and Roseman have put together two drafts so far and while the jury is still out on both, both say the process is working as well as they could have hoped.

The Eagles’ descent from perennial playoff team to one of the NFL’s worst teams at the end of the Andy Reid era was largely the result of inept drafting, especially on the defensive side, from 2005 through 2011.

Kelly and Roseman are committed to turning the franchise around through youth and draft picks, and for that to happen, they have to continue to have a productive relationship that results in promising young players like 2013 picks Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz and Bennie Logan.

That’s not always the case with head coaches and general managers.

“The funny thing and the lucky thing is we see a lot of players the same way,” Roseman said. “I think that's probably because our job as a personnel staff is to find players with the traits that our coaching staff is looking for, how they fit in the scheme.

“We could find really good players that don't fit our scheme, and they're not going to play very well for us, and they're not going to look very good for us. [The coaches] do a great job of giving us a description of what they're looking for, and then it's our job to find them.

“We're hopeful that the guys that we're finally funneling down and bringing to them are guys with traits that they're looking for.

“Fortunately over the last two drafts, two years, we've been on the same page.”

The downfall of the Eagles coincided with a lot of friction in the draft room, often the result of former team president Joe Banner’s interference in personnel matters -- something he continued even more publicly during his brief stint in Cleveland.

Those days are gone. Kelly and Roseman say the Eagles’ draft room is respectful, calm and professional.

For decades, bitterness and jealousy between coaches and personnel staffs was the norm in the NFL. Anybody who heard Buddy Ryan talk about one-time Eagles personnel guy Bill Davis -- father of current defensive coordinator Billy Davis -- knows how ugly that could get.

But in the modern NFL, there’s no time for that. Decisions have to be made mutually between coaches and personnel men for the good of the team.

“I think we've got a pretty good, clean process in terms of how it works,” Kelly said. “I think it's well thought out. It's very structured in terms of when we have to have X done, when we have to have Y done, how we continue to move in the right direction, and then so that when you get to the draft itself … it's really a pretty orderly fashion.

“That's why I was kind of amazed that someone would actually want to write a movie about it, because it's not that dramatic to be honest with you. You just look at a board and go, ‘OK, what number are we? We pick? OK, that guy is the highest, let's pick him.’ It's not what I think some people think it is.”

If the process is that streamlined, it’s only because Roseman and Kelly have been able to work together so well.

Roseman has shown a willingness to listen to those around him, whether it’s vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble, assistant director of player personnel Ed Marynowitz, director of college scouting Anthony Patch, player personnel executive Rick Mueller, senior adviser Tom Donahue or Kelly himself.

It was Kelly’s understanding of the NFL game and personnel as a college coach that really impressed Roseman during the interview process a little over a year ago.

“Quite honestly, he's extremely impressive,” Roseman said. “I don't know why I shouldn't have foreseen that after interviewing him and spending time with him. I kind of took it for granted. But the amount of time that he puts into guys, the amount of recall he has, he's an extremely smart guy, and he's got a knack. He's done it at a couple of different levels, and he's had to do it without some of the resources, too.

“I think that's a huge advantage to us, and really our coaching staff as a whole has done a tremendous job of kind of blending with our personnel staff. I don't know that our personnel staff, the experience that we have on our personnel staff, the talent that we have on our personnel staff, and this is certainly not anything to pat myself on the back, but to pat them on the back. They don’t get enough credit.

“I look around that room and I look around our staff, and we have a very talented group of guys on our personnel staff, and I just feel very fortunate to have that because I think that's the most important thing I've learned here as a relatively young guy in this position is that you need good people around you. I think we've got great people in this building.”

This isn’t to say Roseman and Kelly always agree. They don’t. It’s just when they don’t, they take things in a productive direction.

“We disagree a lot, and I think that's a good thing,” Kelly said. “This isn't a building of yes men. We really go through it and then we'll ask questions. ‘Well, tell me your view. Why do you feel this way about him?’ And maybe I didn't think of it that way. ‘Have you ever looked at him like this? I think his value here is bigger than that value there.'

“We've come to logical conclusions on it. But since I've been here, I know it's only Year 2, but have we gotten to a point where we're adamant about one and Howie is adamant about another, it hasn't worked that way. I don't know if we get to that point what's going to happen, but we haven't gotten there.”

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