Chip Kelly is getting ready for his second season as an NFL coach, and he already has strong feelings about the worst thing in the league.
Kelly, whose second training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles has begun, told Sports Illustrated's MMQB that the "worst thing" about the NFL is the draft.
"The hype that goes into the draft is insane. Totally insane," said Kelly, who spent four seasons as Oregon's coach before being hired by the Eagles. "The biggest thing for me is that everybody thinks whoever you drafted or whoever you signed is now going to be a savior. They come in just like me and you come in as freshmen in high school or freshmen in college, or your first year on the job at Sports Illustrated -- you're not telling people what to do, you're just trying to figure out what room to go to.
"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. Then when they get picked, they're a very, very good prospect, but there's a learning curve when you go from any job out of college into a company. If you take a job at Wells Fargo when you get out of college, your first day of the job, they don't say, 'He's our first-round draft pick, he's the savior to the company!' "
Kelly said that type of thinking leads to some players being overwhelmed.
"The NFL has their 'Rookie Premiere' and they're out there getting all these pictures taken and they're missing practice time to go out to California and they're treated like gods, and I'm like, 'I don't know if he's going to start,' " he said.
Kelly also has issues with those who analyze the draft.
"We drafted (outside linebacker) Marcus Smith in the first round and (wide receiver) Jordan Matthews in the second round," Kelly said. "Then you listen to people around here that say, 'Well, we don't like their draft. If they had taken Matthews first and Smith second, we would give them an 'A.'
"Who cares who went one and who went two? It's almost like there's a lot of scrutiny on Marcus Smith because he went one, but Jordan gets a pass because he fell to the second round. If you ask both those individuals, they have the same goals and aspirations and they're training exactly the same way. It's just how people perceive things, and I think a lot of that has to do with the hype."
Kelly said the hype creates issues.
"Jerry Rice dropped a lot of balls when he was a rookie. He was a strong kid. He took it," Kelly said. "But now, for some of these guys, it crushes them. It's no different than bringing a pitcher up before you should and he gets racked: 'He's a stiff. Send him back to the minors.'
"There's a maturation process for everybody. There's no other profession like it."
Kelly's point about there being "three months to write about (prospects) and talk about them" is an interesting one. With the moving of the draft from April to May this year -- a move that appears permanent -- there actually were almost five months to write about prospects after the college season ended.
And anyone who follows the draft even a little bit had to smile when reading about Kelly's take on perceived draft value vis-à-vis the Eagles' first two picks. It does get old to hear analysts drone on and on about "draft value." Hey, if a team likes a guy, it likes a guy, whether it takes him third in the first round or first in the third round. Like beauty, "draft value" is in the eye of the beholder, so it can't be "wrong."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.