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Eagles, Kelly resist temptation, help Browns land Manziel

Manziel picked at No. 22 by Browns, not Eagles
Manziel picked at No. 22 by Browns, not Eagles
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles were put into a position few expected in the NFL draft on May 8. As Johnny Manziel fell further down the draft line, the Eagles had a real chance to land the Heisman Trophy winner. Despite having Nick Foles emerge last year, if anyone was going to take a crazy chance on Manziel at that point, it was probably going to be Chip Kelly -- yet instead, he and Philadelphia helped the Cleveland Browns do it.

By trading their No. 22 pick for the No. 26 slot and a third round selection, the Eagles let the Browns end the biggest guessing game of the NFL draft. Soon after, Manziel went to Cleveland despite being passed over by the Browns at No. 8 for Justin Gilbert.

If Kelly really and truly wanted to, he could have made the case to take Manziel himself before letting the Browns do it. Before going to Texas A&M, the future "Johnny Football" had committed to Kelly and his Oregon Ducks before changing his mind. With that history and Kelly's offensive strategies, the Eagles were a sleeper contender to make a shocking move for him.

Such a move would have been a profound blow to Foles, after he took the Eagles to the playoffs last year and after they let Michael Vick go. Yet despite Philadelphia showing that faith in Foles, there is still a perception that Kelly will eventually throw him aside for a quarterback that fits his old system -- someone like Manziel, for instance.

But there was no sentiment in the NFL draft when it came to Manziel. The Houston Texans didn't take him at No. 1 despite his Texas connections, and the Dallas Cowboys didn't exploit them either. If even Jerry Jones refused the big buzz that Manziel would have brought to Cowboys Stadium, it was less surprising that Kelly showed will power too.

Now the Browns will be at the center of the Manziel showcase, while the Eagles look to build parts around Foles. Yet instead of drafting a new wide receiver for him, as Philadelphia is expected to do at some point, defensive end Marcus Smith of Louisville was finally taken with the No. 26 pick.

If Manziel succeeds, many more teams besides the Eagles will regret the 2014 NFL draft. But it will be up to Foles to validate Philadelphia's first round strategy or not.

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