Philadelphia Eagles Draft: What do the Eagles Do If Mariota Falls to 20?
By Jesse Shuter
Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) scrambles against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the most highly debated teams in sports as of late. Their connection to top quarterback prospect and former Oregon Duck, Marcus Mariota, has been the main point of contention over the past few months. Most of this talk is whether the Eagles would be willing to trade up to select Mariota in the draft. The feeling right now is that the Eagles have moved on and will not make that leap. However, were Mariota to fall the Eagles might have a more interesting decision on their hands.
On April 6th, a mock draft was released by NFL.com in which Pennsylvania native and former Philadelphia Eagle Brian Baldinger predicted that Marcus Mariota would not only fall to the 20th pick, but the Eagles would take him there (the whole mock draft can be found here). Baldinger, who covers the Eagles during the preseason and is very familar with the team, justified the pick by saying the following:
"“Whether it’s here at pick No. 20 or through a trade, Mariota gets reunited with Chip Kelly and the Eagles keep on Ducking” -Brian Baldinger"
Could the Eagles actually grab Mariota? Last year at this time the rumor was that the Eagles were very high on quarterback Johnny Manziel who Kelly had attempted to recruit in college. Many experts felt that were Manziel available at the 22nd overall pick then the Eagles would take him. Sure enough he was available and was selected with the 22nd pick. However, it was the Cleveland Browns that traded up to grab Manziel, not the Eagles.
Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota throws a pass during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Keeping all of this in mind, Mariota is a different story. He has been referred to on many occasions as the Eagles’ version of Andrew Luck. Chip Kelly has came out and said that Mariota is the highest quarterback (and probably player) on the Philadelphia Eagles draft board. He has also been referred to as a potential bust who does not possess the skills to be a quarterback on the professional level.
The difference between a quarterback like Mariota and one like Andrew Luck is that Luck came into the league and played at a high level from day one. Many people think that Mariota will need a year or two to adjust to the NFL. Luckily, if the Eagles go in this direction, they would still have Sam Bradford to hold down the fort for the time being (unless they trade him, making it Sanchez time).
Nov 16, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly reacts in the fourth quarter during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Eagles also have bigger needs than quarterback. They still need a starting safety and wide receiver. In the very same mock draft where Baldinger has the Eagles taking Mariota he also has Alabama safety Landon Collins and wide receivers such as Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong still on the board. Collins reminds me of a smaller version of the Seattle Seahawks’ safety Kam Chancellor and Strong reminds me of the Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones. While either of these players could be a bust, neither has a floor as low as Mariota.
If I was the general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, I would target one of the players above (Collins, Strong) in the first round. However, I am not the general manager. Chip Kelly is running the show and if Mariota falls to 20 like Brian Baldinger predicts, I believe that Mariota will be wearing green for a little longer.
Next: Who Should The Philadelphia Eagles Target in The First Round?
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