Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles is not typical. The head coach is never afraid to think outside the box, and he has brought that type of thinking to his drafting process. This year, Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman executed their draft plan with college graduates in mind, according to Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal.
Of the seven players the Eagles drafted earlier this month, six are going to receive a college diploma. Kelly believes being a graduate shows dedication and the propensity to work hard, per the WSJ piece:
"They set goals out for themselves and can they follow through for it? A lot of people can tell you they want to do this, this and this. But look at their accomplishments."
This year, Kelly drafted Beau Allen, a nose tackle out of Nebraska, with a seventh-round pick. During the interview process, Kelly asked Allen a litany of education questions, ranging from what he learned to how he learned it. Allen told him he is more of a visual learner, taking constant notes and memorizing them.
When it came time to receive the playbook, the rookies all received a tablet. Allen was relieved to also receive a pen along with the stylus and a notebook.
Kelly has research on his side when it comes to graduates equaling success. Teams with the most college graduates tend to play to a much higher level; the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are two of the top three teams in terms of graduates on their rosters. The team with the least? The 4-12 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kelly spent plenty of time in the college ranks as a coach, working at various schools for 20 years including his high-octane stint as a head coach with the Oregon Ducks from 2009-2012. Before becoming a coach, Kelly earned a Bachelor's degree in physical education at the University of New Hampshire.
Philadelphia -- very much like Oregon -- runs a complex offensive scheme under Kelly that often includes a constant no-huddle attack. If players cannot think quickly and process mass amounts of information, they are lost and subsequently hurting the team, per the WSJ:
"Coach Kelly is an offensive genius," said former Oregon receiver Josh Huff, whom the Eagles took in the third round this month. "You have to be on the same level as him because you have to know why he's doing what he's doing."
Kelly is eccentric in other ways as well. During the team's offseason program this year, Kelly is aware that coaches can't be on the field with the players in their first voluntary mini camp. So, Kelly devised a plan to use a remote control car to help the defense make adjustments to shifts.
Last year, Kelly was holding practices with music blasting in the background. Nothing unusual about that, except that he claims his musical selections had plenty of scientific research behind them, per NFL.com. Just another example of why the Eagles are a bit different than the rest of the league, and perhaps why they went from 4-12 to NFC East champs.
Kelly even did the unthinkable last year, doing away with Taco Tuesday and Fast Food Friday, long staples under the Andy Reid regime in Philadelphia.