When Chip Kelly called fifth-round defensive end Taylor Hart, he joked with his former Oregon player that the Eagles were "putting the family back together."
Hart was the second Oregon player the Eagles drafted this week after taking wide receiver Josh Huff in the third round on Saturday. The Eagles now have seven Oregon players on their roster, with a coaching and support staff that has a strong Oregon influence. The Eugene-to-Philadelphia pipeline is showing no signs of slowing down.
"We're taking the best players, in our opinion," Kelly said. "There are still a lot of Oregon players out there. But they've won a lot of games the last couple years."
Kelly said that when the Eagles evaluate an Oregon player, he does not offer his opinion. General manager Howie Roseman said he even tells Kelly what he thinks of an Oregon player before Kelly shares his thoughts.
"I specifically stayed out of those guys and let the personnel give me what the grades are," Kelly said. "I think there are points in time where they've got to convince me this is the direction we're going in because I try to divorce myself from that situation."
Kelly was unabashed about adding Oregon players. He pointed to other Oregon players in the league who are standouts - Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso is an example - and said the familiarity is a benefit.
"Just because we have a familiarity, if someone wants to say that's a concern, that's OK," Kelly said. "But I'm not going to take one because I'm afraid someone's going to say something about them."
Stable at QB
The Eagles did not draft a quarterback, and Kelly expects a "real healthy competition" between veteran Mark Sanchez and second-year quarterback Matt Barkley to be Nick Foles' backup. Barkley is healthier this spring than he was one year ago. Sanchez is coming off a shoulder injury this spring.
"[Barkley] had a real good offseason in terms of training," Kelly said. "It's a good time for the quarterbacks and receivers to kind of run and throw together, and I think Matt's throwing better here and there, too."
Birds pass on O-linemen
The Eagles are relying on some young offensive linemen for depth. They did not draft a lineman even though three starters are over 30.
The Eagles are high on Matt Tobin, who made the roster as a rookie free agent last season. Allen Barbre was the team's reserve in 2013 and returns this year. Julian Vandervelde and Dennis Kelly will both try to hold their roster spots, while free agent David Molk competes with Vandervelde for the backup center spot. Practice-squad tackle Michael Bamiro will compete for a job after a developmental year.
Roseman said there was a run on offensive linemen in the third round, but the Eagles did not want to force a pick. They instead added offensive linemen in the undrafted free agent market.
The Eagles signed the following 15 undrafted free agents: Oregon NT Wade Keliikipi, Florida A&M DE Frank Mays, Oklahoma State S Daytawion Lowe, Alabama CB John Fulton, Morgan State OL Karim Barton, Oregon State OL Josh Andrews, Texas OL Donald Hawkins, Southern Cal OL Kevin Graf, Florida TE Trey Burton, Cincinnati TE Blake Annen, Louisiana State WR Kadron Boone, Rutgers WR Quron Pratt, Missouri RB Henry Josey, Toledo RB David Fluellen, and Vanderbilt K Carey Spear.