Kelly elaborates on his disdain for draft hype


Unlike most of his peers, Eagles coach Chip Kelly is willing to pull the curtain back on the draft process and admit that it’s more blind luck than science.

“You don’t know how it’s going to pan out,” Kelly said the morning after round one of the 2014 draft.  “Just going through the analytics of it, 50 percent of first-round picks don’t make it.  That’s through the history of time.”

More recently, Kelly bemoaned the hype around the draft, which is driven in large part by the ever-growing draft-expert machine.  Apart from the fact that the draft experts never acknowledge that half the prospects bust and that we don’t know and won’t know who they are until they’re in the NFL, Kelly believes that, for some guys, the hype makes it harder to not be a bust.

“I think a lot of times the hype turns into really, really hard times for the individual who got picked, because there’s so many expectations of everyone building them up to be Superman because they had three months to write about them and talk about them,” Kelly told Peter King.

Kelly was asked to elaborate on his point during a Monday press conference, specifically as it relates to the hype surrounding second-round receiver Jordan Matthews.  While Kelly said he’s not concerned about the talk regarding Matthews, who already has been compared to Terrell Owens, Kelly explained his position on draft hype generally.

“I think the draft is integral obviously with putting together your team but literally from the day the Super Bowl ends until the draft, at the ending of May, or the beginning of June or maybe push it to July at some point in time; that’s all everybody talks about,” Kelly said.  “I felt the same way in college.  You devote everything to the signing day.  Well, how many of those guys on the signing day are actually going to contribute?  You may have one or two of your rookies that have an impact on your team but the rest of them it’s a part of having them develop. . . .

“The fact that people would watch the Combine; there’s times at the Combine where I fall asleep,” Kelly added.  “So I don’t know why people watch it on television.  They are running 40‑yard dashes.”

Kelly then reiterated his comparison of the draft-hype dynamic to other industries.

“[Y]ou guys are in the newspaper business,” Kelly said.  “If someone is a rookie coming into the newspaper thing, I don’t think you all just start applauding and saying, ‘Oh my God, the savior is here and our paper is safe because we just signed a kid out of Northwestern because the kid has really good prose.’  But in football it seems to be the biggest deal in the world and if a guy is not an All‑Pro in his first year but he was drafted in the first five picks, obviously he’s a bust.”

Kelly is right.  But what he didn’t say is that the NFL ultimately stirs the draft-hype drink via a TV and online media machine that no one will pay attention to if it’s not generating content.

I’m not complaining.  We cover the draft and the hype and everything that goes along with it.   But we’re always honest about the fact that there’s a disconnect between the impression that the draft experts have it all figured out and the reality that no one does.

Still, if the NFL or the rest of the draft-expert industry would use slogans like “Tune in for the crapshoot” in the ads and promos, fans eventually would ask, “Why am I watching?”

“Because it’s on TV” would only work for so long.

38 responses to “Kelly elaborates on his disdain for draft hype

  1. Chip Kelly is pretty much right here. Playing devil’s advocate here, I will say for those of us who do not follow college football, the pre-draft hype is our chance to learn about the new faces entering the league, but that’s about all it’s good for in my opinion.

  2. In my opinion, the problem with draft coverage this year was that it was mostly just Johnny Manziel.

  3. LOVE Chip! Hope Jeff Laurie let’s him stick around for 14 years, like Andy!
    Much better then, “I’ve got to do better” and “time’s yours”… have fun KC

  4. I’m with Chip.
    The draft is interesting to watch while it’s on but the commentary shows before and after are not at all interesting or useful to me as a fan or a fantasy player or as a human being. I don’t watch them.

  5. I’d rather watch Victoria’s Secret models than the combine… But to each their own

  6. That’s the kind of stuff we hear at pressers every day. Kelly being Kelly which means being honest. It’s funny because a lot of times people don’t believe him because we aren’t used to that.

  7. As an Eagles fan I hope he’s the real deal. I’ve been fighting it but i’m starting to like the guy.

  8. I agree the ESPN and NFL Network draft machine don’t talk enough about the reality of “odds” on prospects.

    The draft is really a combination of a lottery, gambling and the stock market.

    But having said that there is still quite a bit of skill involved (just like there are professional gamblers and professional stock market gurus).

    The media sometimes wants you to believe every pick should succeed 100% of the time and only those GM’s that succeed this often should be applauded, but that is not the case.

    The successful drafting organization are those that succeed MORE than their competitors. That is the only standard to worry about. A good drafting strategy skews the baseline odds in your favor through smart analysis and scouting.

    Not enough attention is given to risk/reward analysis of picks because that is really the nuts and bolts of a good selection or not.

  9. .
    Kelly is correct about the “savior” status these rookies have bestowed on them by assorted media types. Reality is quite different.

    Take the Patriots first two picks, Damon Easley and Jimmy Garopollo. Easley may get on the field occasionally as a situational DT. QB Garopollo will most likely never take a snap.

    These two are hardly “saviors” at this point in their careers. Two or three years down the road could be a totally different story.

  10. He has the screw you I’m going to be me whether you like it or not attitude like belicheck but with the ability to actually speak without mumbling and sounding like a depressed pick who is 10 seconds way from slitting his own wrist.

  11. Chip Kelly is a joy to listen to. Eagles fans must love watching his press conferences compared to Andy Reid.

  12. Although it’s true that 50% of first-round picks don’t make it, that isn’t distributed evenly across teams. For example, it’s 90% for the Vikings and 10% for the Packers.

  13. The level of interest in the draft, and pre-draft buildup, has always amazed me. The excessive level of jock-sniffing is at an all time high- from fans and TV analysts alike!

  14. Thanks Chip, but I don’t need the NFL to tell me that more than half the projections made by analysts are incorrect. I can see that with my own eyes. And guess what, people who are into the combine stuff watch it. Those who don’t, don’t.

    As for the hype machine putting pressure on players, give it a rest. It’s also hype that gets them drafted higher, leading to a better contract. It’s the hype that gets them the endorsement deals, and a guaranteed roster spot rather than having to fear being cut on 53-man deadline day.

    Only idiot fan-boys believe everything Mel Kiper spits out is gospel. Intelligent fans know that nothing is certain until the games count. The rest of it is just entertainment, sometime to watch while baseball season drones along.

    Next Chip will be telling us that pre-season rankings in college football don’t really tell us who the best 25 teams in the country are.

  15. His analogy is a good one, but a bit misleading. A “rookie reporter” has little work experience when he or she joins a media company whereas a football player does. Most draftees have played high school and college football, in highly competitive environments with some of the best coaching available.

    The news reporter is also likely asked to contribute over a 35 to 45 year period whereas the football player might get 10 to 15 years in, with the average being a third of that. This means the football player has to contribute more immediately.

    Are they saviours? No. Are they hyped too much? Yes. Is that going to change any time soon? No.

  16. Still, if the NFL or the rest of the draft-expert industry would use slogans like “Tune in for the crapshoot”

    That reminds me of the Carlsberg Beer ad I saw in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is where it’s brewed…
    “Carlsberg, Probably the Best Beer in Town”
    What confidence!

  17. The draft is the selling of hope.

    Yes. Common sense should prevail but for a period of time everyone can hope. In sports, the only other thing I can think of that is similar is opening day in baseball.

    For a short time hope supercedes common sense. About 120 days late, reality has set in.

  18. Kelly is dead on target. Ive stopped watching the draft as soon as it went to three days. Why spread this thing out over three days what can be done in one day. The NFL has been turned into some kind of World Wrestling Federation. And those damned mock drafts are ridicules. Ive seen people almost come to blows on sports blogs because of a difference of opinion. People will call you names if disagreed with,,,

  19. For every person that claims to have stopped watching the draft, there’s 6 more casual fans to take their place. The NFL offseason is an event unto itself now.

    If you don’t like it, don’t watch. At the end of the day, some people find it entertaining. SO what if it’s all hype, and guesswork? It’s no worse than the Superbowl predictions all of these Eagles fans are making. If McCoy blows out a knee in the first game, it’s back to picking 4th in the draft.

  20. Who is Chip. Chip is the college guy who took a 4 win team and won the division, and had the #2 offense in the league. Chip doesn’t listen and learn he teaches others his innovative methods. The better question would be “who are you”?

  21. Wow. He won the NFC East. perhaps the worst division in football and it came down to a game saving play against the Cowboys, a team missing it’s quarterback and fielding the worst defense in the history of football.

    And since ‘Chip doesn’t listen’, that will serve him well when Philly fans are calling WIP and 97.5 the fanatic asking for his head this winter. He’s been in the league long enough to have a cup of coffee and people are acting like he’s Bill Walsh. When that goofball Foles shows everyone what he really is, I’m gonna love seeing Chip try to run the read option wth Mark Sanchez.

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