Philadelphia Eagles could go all-in for Marcus Mariota


There’s been no hiding the fact that Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly would like to have Oregon’s Marcus Mariota join his team next season. That dream could very well become a reality as’s Mark Eckel has reported that the Eagles are preparing several plans in order to trade up in the 2015 NFL Draft in pursuit of Mariota. Philadelphia currently owns the 20th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, which begins April 30th in Chicago, Illinois. 

An unnamed source told Eckel that the Birds will likely have to trade up twice in order to get within striking distance of the top teams. The source said, “From No. 20, it’s certainly not going to be easy.” There’s plenty of time for speculation, but the fact that these rumors continue to swirl makes the idea of Mariota coming to the Eagles more and more of a possibility. Personally, I believe that the team can find a developmental quarterback later in the draft, such as UCLA’s Brett Hundley or Baylor’s Bryce Petty, but Mariota does appear to be a star in the making.

While the idea that the Eagles could actually obtain Mariota still remains a pipe dream at this point, Kelly seems intent on having his former quarterback in Eugene join him in the City of Brotherly Love. Prior to Mariota winning the Heisman Trophy in December, Kelly praised his former recruit, saying, “He has a gift for playing football.”

"“He is everything you could want. He can throw the ball, he can run. He is the most talented kid I coached in college.”"

The fact of the matter is that the Eagles will likely have to concede a minimum of three first-round selections in order to have an opportunity to trade into a top-five position. Where it gets really tricky though is how far up they will need to go. Tampa Bay and Tennessee could both be in the market for a quarterback, so to be safe Philly will likely have to find a way to get all the way up the draft board. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks has Mariota falling to the Kansas City Chiefs at number 18 in his latest mock draft, but for him to fall that far would be very unrealistic.

Even if Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston does go number one to the Buccaneers, like Brooks has projected, the Eagles can’t be certain that Mariota will fall into their laps at pick 20. It wouldn’t be the first time that a highly-touted signal caller fell in the draft though. The Green Bay Packers snagged Aaron Rodgers at number 24 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft after the San Francisco 49ers opted to draft Alex Smith with the first pick. Although I don’t expect Mariota to suffer that same fate, stranger things have happened.

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If I’m the Eagles, I’m praying that teams pass on him. If NFL teams have learned anything from the Washington Redskins in 2012, it’s that you don’t mortgage your future for a quarterback. There are very few players coming into this league that are sure fire stars, unless your name is Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck. So potentially giving up three, maybe even four first-rounders in the Eagles case, should be the last thing that they are thinking about at this time. Philadelphia is on the verge of being a legitimate title contender, but I don’t see Mariota being the missing piece to that puzzle.

Mariota could ultimately be a very good player, and if he does drop into the middle of Round 1 in April then I say you have to at least look at him. The Eagles know that they need help in the secondary though, and they will have the opportunity to take someone like Washington’s Marcus Peters or Florida State’s P.J. Williams at their current spot. Either player could come in and make an instant impact in a secondary that was putrid for most of the 2014 season.

It would be a great story for Chip Kelly to reunite with his former quarterback, but ultimately I believe it might require Philly to give up too much in order to obtain him.