Geno would need to wait
If Chip Kelly knows anything, it's that 1) he has a window to try to build the team he wants before the fans in Philly run him out of town. We all knew the transition of Kelly to the NFL would be a major storyline, and Kelly knows this as well as anybody. He'll work with his front office to make sure they have the personnel they feel they need.
And 2) he has to get the right quarterback.
I really like the fit of Geno Smith with Kelly and the Eagles because Kelly won't be in a rush. The Eagles already have Michael Vick on the roster, so they have a presumptive starter. Smith is a very good passer and an underrated athlete, which is exactly the kind of player Kelly succeeded with at quarterback during his time in Oregon.
It's not true to say Kelly constantly put his quarterbacks at risk. Yes, he liked to maintain the threat of the run, but Oregon has ranked no lower than 14th nationally in each of the past three seasons in passer rating. Kelly's teams blind you with pace, but they aren't just some hurry-up option attack. They can really carve teams up with the pass.
Smith is a passer first -- his running stats bear that as much as his passing numbers -- a guy with some outstanding skills as a passer but also weaknesses that need to be ironed out. A year on the bench, digesting the nuances of Kelly's offense, is a perfect transition for him. If Smith lands on a team that's set on having him start right away, he could be in trouble. But if he lands in a place where the organization has patience and the coach is content to mold Smith's talents, he could be a good one. Philly could be that place, but that doesn't need to be with the No. 4 pick.
Mel Kiper has been the premier name in NFL draft prospect evaluations for more than three decades. He started putting out his annual draft guides in 1978 and began contributing to ESPN as an analyst in 1984. For more from Mel, check out his annual draft publications or his ESPN home page. He can also be found on Twitter @MelKiperESPN.
Philly's not the only place
This is a tough one, because Geno Smith is capable of playing in multiple schemes. He's a pure pocket passer who at times went out of his way to not run, but he's also the fastest quarterback in this class, and his tape shows the speed and elusiveness necessary to run zone-read plays.
Still, when you consider all the factors, Philadelphia looks like the best fit.
New Eagles coach Chip Kelly once told me he would pick Rajon Rondo as the ideal triggerman for his offense, the point being that Kelly wants a quarterback who can maintain the tempo he's looking to dictate and distribute the ball all over the field.
Coming from Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense in West Virginia, Smith understands to a certain degree how important that tempo is. While his decision-making is inconsistent at times, Smith flashes fast eyes and the ability to make sound reads, and he has the work ethic to pick up what Kelly is looking for in that regard.
While it remains to be seen how often Kelly will ask his quarterback to run, Smith can do so when asked, and his coach surely won't overwork his signal-callers in that area.
Yes, Michael Vick is currently in place as the starter, but given Vick's age and injury history, it would make sense to have Smith waiting in the wings. And the opportunity for Smith to ease into his transition from the Air Raid attack would be a good thing for him. It would be clear to everyone that he would eventually be the guy, but Smith wouldn't be thrown into the fire right away.
But as I said before, Philly isn't the only fit for Smith. He's not confined to a particular system, and teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville could be options if they are not sold on their current quarterbacks.
Todd McShay is the director of college scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Follow McShay on Twitter @McShay13.