There have been plenty of college coaches to make the leap to the NFL over the years and those coaches have had different approaches to working with players they coached in college.
Jim Harbaugh hasn’t stocked the 49ers with former Stanford players and done just fine. Jimmy Johnson and Steve Spurrier both leaned on players from their old stomping grounds, however, and had very different results.
Chip Kelly hasn’t been on the job too long, but he’s shown some signs of going the familiar face route. They’ve signed quarterback Dennis Dixon and he gushed about defensive end/outside linebacker Dion Jordan at the combine last week, leading some to wonder if Kelly will be able to be objective enough in his evaluations when it comes to Oregon players. Kelly doesn’t think it will be a problem and thinks that his knowledge of the players will make it easier to evaluate just how well they’d fit in Philadelphia.
“I would think it would be an advantage, because we know them,” Kelly said, via Zach Berman of Philadelphia Inquirer. “I can tell you what they’re like on the field, I can tell you what they’re like off the field, I can tell you what they’re like in the meeting room.”
Jordan is held in high regard by just about everyone, so taking him fourth wouldn’t be a case of prizing past relationships at the expense of making the wisest choice for the team. Should Kyle Long, Kenjon Barner and others wind up trading in Duck wings for Eagle wings as well, we’d start to wonder a bit.