Kelly said Roseman drafted Marcus Smith
Chip Kelly said Wednesday that Howie Roseman had final say on the Eagles' last two drafts, including the selection of linebacker Marcus Smith, who played only 68 snaps on defense last year, in the 2014 first round.
"Howie had final say on the decision," Kelly said when asked about Smith's selection.
Aside from second-round wide receiver Jordan Matthews, the early returns on last year's draft haven't been encouraging. Former Oregon players Josh Huff and Taylor Hart, who played under Kelly in college, were selected in the third and fifth rounds. It seems unlikely that Kelly, at the least, didn't have significant input into those picks.
The 2013 draft with tackle Lane Johnson, tight end Zach Ertz and nose tackle Bennie Logan as the first three selections has shown promise after two seasons.
Asked previously about who had final say over the draft, Kelly and Roseman said that decisions were made by committee. But Kelly always had final say over the 53-man roster and now he has complete control over all football operations after the front-office shake-up that left Roseman no longer the general manager two months ago.
As for that power shift, Kelly, in his first comments since the day after the season ended, said that he didn't ask for more control. He said that owner Jeffrey Lurie made the decision.
"I didn't think I needed control of personnel," Kelly said Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. "It was a decision our owner made. So I just had a meeting with him like I do at the end of every year in terms of the direction of what we were doing and how we go from being a 10-6 team to a team that can win the Super Bowl. And it was a decision Jeffrey made."
Immediately after the season finale, Lurie scoffed at the question of whether Roseman would return as GM. There had been rumblings in and out of the organization that Kelly and Roseman's relationship had soured, since verified by multiple sources close to both men.
But four days later, after vice player of personnel Tom Gamble was mysteriously fired, Lurie announced that he had changed his mind. In a statement on Jan. 2 - the only public comments he has made since - Lurie said that Kelly didn't make any "demands" or "threats" and that he "articulated a dynamic and clear vision on how this fully integrated approach will work."
Kelly, insisting once again that he didn't initiate the power move, said that he endorsed the new front office structure.
"I feel like we have a vision for what we want for football players here and I think we can articulate that and I think that's what we're trying to go out and get," Kelly said.
Roseman no longer has any involvement in player evaluation and the personnel department. As the executive vice president of football operates he oversees the salary cap and contract negotiations.
"I get along great with Howie," Kelly said. "We have a great working relationship just like I do with everybody else in this building. And Howie - the same thing he'll tell you that I'll tell you is that we're trying to win a championship here."
Requests to speak with Roseman have been denied by the Eagles all offseason.
Roseman was recently moved out of his old office in the football operations end of the NovaCare Complex - located two doors from Kelly - to the business side.
"I didn't move his office," Kelly said.
As for Gamble's ouster - which Roseman announced as a parting of the ways on Dec. 31 - Kelly said he had nothing to do with the decision either.
"That was made on the other side," Kelly said referring to Roseman. "That wasn't my call."
Gamble was hired not long after Kelly took the Eagles job in January 2013. He was brought in at Kelly's insistence and was viewed as the coach's guy in the personnel department.
"I love Tom," Kelly said. "I think Tom's done an unbelievable job and he's a great football guy."
Ed Marynowitz was promoted by Kelly into Gamble's old spot. He is now the Eagles' chief scout and with no GM oversees the personnel department. But the 31-year-old Marynowitz reports to Kelly and works alongside Roseman in contract matters.
"My thought was, 'How do we make this place better?' " Kelly said. "I never talked about that. I think Howie does an outstanding job. He's does an outstanding job in free agency in terms of negotiating contracts. I think there's a collaborative effort in everything we do."