A Chip Kelly - Marcus Mariota Reunion?
Bob Whalon | 02/27/15 | 11:13 AM EST 0 Comments
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I can't stand it any longer.

I have had just about enough of all these stupid rumors that the Philadelphia Eagles and head coach Chip Kelly will trade up in the draft to select Marcus Mariota.  Yes, I get that Mariota played for Kelly at Oregon, but that doesn't mean that drafting him is a good idea.  Or even a possibility.  Everyone from local Philadelphia writers, to talk-show hosts, to national dopes, like Peter King are suggesting that the Eagles should and will trade up to draft Mariota.  Those people are as dumb as the dopes who share those opinions on internet message boards.
 
Let's examine those points separately.
 
First of all there is no way in hell the Eagles can put together a package enticing enough for either Tampa Bay, picking first, or Tennessee, picking second, to trade with the Eagles, who pick all the way down at No. 20.  (Yeah, how do you like that meaningless season-ending win over the New York Giants now?)
 
Let's start with the fact that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league and Mariota and FSU's Jameis Winston are going with the first two picks of the draft.  Both threw at the Scouting Combine and both looked good.  Tampa was reportedly satisfied with their interviews with Winston and are leaning towards taking him with the top pick.  He's a talented QB, but he's a terrible human being.  He's likely to be the next Ryan Leaf, but I digress.  So that would leave Mariota for the Titans, who would have to decide if they really think last years' sixth round pick, Zach Mettenberger is their long-term answer at quarterback.  I'm guessing they take Mariota or accept the king's ransom they would receive in return from another team who desperately wants him.
 
Even if you think that team should be the Eagles, there is no way the Titans would be willing to drop down to 20.  The New York Jets are desperate to find a franchise QB, since the Geno Smith experiment has been a bust.  The Jets pick sixth, which is a lot closer to two than 20.  As a point of reference, let's look at what the Washington Redskins gave up to the St. Louis Rams to get the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft to take Robert Griffin III.

The Redskins had the sixth pick (same as the Jets this year), not the 20th like the Eagles have this year, and they still had to give up three first round picks plus a second rounder to move up four spots to the second pick.  For the Eagles to come close to that kind of value for Tennessee, they would have to trade about five first round picks, a couple of second rounders and a few mid-range picks sprinkled in for good measure.  And even then, I doubt that would be enough.  I've seen various people say the Eagles could trade their No. 20 pick and Nick Foles or LeSean McCoy for the second pick.  Yeah, right.  Just because that's what fans and clueless sports writers might be willing to trade, doesn't mean the Titans would be willing to take that.  Using that logic, the Eagles could just replace McCoy by trading Riley Cooper to the Minnesota Vikings for Adrian Peterson, right?  That's fair, right?  Uh, no dope.

And if you think Mariota is going to slide on draft day, perhaps you missed the part about every team in the NFL craving their own franchise QB.  You need an elite quarterback to win the Super Bowl, unless of course you have the Seahawks defense.  And even then, your good, but not elite QB might do something stupid like throw an interception at the goal line on the last play of the game.  

So now we've established that there is no way in hell the Eagles can make a trade to get Mariota in the draft.  But I'm here to tell you that even if some rival GM loses his mind and takes whatever package the Eagles were offering, they shouldn't do it.

First of all, I think Nick Foles is good enough to win a Super Bowl if the Eagles can improve their defense.  Foles is only 26.  He's won 14 of the 18 games he's started under Kelly and he's thrown 40 TDs and 12 INTs in those 18 games.  His 27 TDs and 2 INTs in 2013 represents the highest TD-to-INT ratio in NFL history.  His QB rating of 119.2 in 2013 was the third highest in NFL history.  Those are some impressive numbers, so Foles has proven that he is capable of being an elite quarterback.  Yes, Foles regressed in 2014, after he set the NFL on fire in 2013.  But let's not forget that the Eagles offensive line was in shambles most of last season, with only LT Jason Peters starting all 16 games.  So why is everybody so quick to want to get rid of Foles?

Then there is the fact that if the Eagles trade all those draft picks to move up, they won't be able to fill the glaring holes they have at CB, LB and safety.  They could also use some young depth on the offensive line through the draft too.  Yes, the Eagles have a ton of money under the salary cap, but you can't build a winning team in free agency.  The Eagles tried that in 2011.  Remember the "Dream Team" fiasco?  You need good young players on rookie contracts in order to balance out the money paid to the star players.  It's how Seattle played in the last two Super Bowls.  Now that they will have to give Russell Wilson a huge contract, they won't have as good a chance to get back there again.  That's just how it works with a salary cap and the Eagles are going to have to pay Jeremy Maclin a ton of money this offseason.

The other issue is that the Eagles are built to win right now.  Their window of opportunity with this core is the next two or three years, max.  Yes, the core of the defense is young, but OLB Trent Cole is 32.  Inside LB DeMeco Ryans will be 31 in July and is coming off his second Achilles' injury in the last five years.  Three of the starting offensive linemen are 32 or older.  TE Brent Celek is 30.  And most importantly, RB LeSean McCoy is at a stage of his career where most running backs are already out of the league.  The end comes quickly for running backs and McCoy has a lot of millage on his legs.

The Eagles can't afford to waste a year of the careers of their core players while a rookie quarterback learns how to play in the NFL.  And make no mistake about it.  There will be a steep learning curve for Mariota in the NFL.  There almost always is for rookie QBs.  Yes, he is already familiar with Kelly's offense, but Kelly doesn't run the same offense in the NFL that he ran in college.  That's because a lot of those plays wouldn't work in the NFL.  Ask QBs like Colin Kaepernick and RGIII how much harder it is to run away from NFL defenders than it was to outrun some walk-on kid playing for Southeastnorthwestern U.  Receivers aren't wide open in the NFL.  Mariota would need time to work on his pocket presence and going through his progressions, instead of tucking the ball and running after his first read is covered.  In short, the Eagles are better off in 2015 with Foles at quarterback.

Foles actually knows the offense better than Mariota does.  Think about it, Foles has started almost twice as many games for Kelly than Mariota has and all of those games for Foles were against NFL defenses.

There really is no logical reason to trade for Mariota if you want the Eagles to contend for a Super Bowl any time soon.

The next time you read or hear some uninformed dope spout some nonsense about how the Philadelphia Eagles just have to get Marcus Mariota, remember this article.  Then you'll realize that a Chip Kelly - Marcus Mariota reunion is about as good of an idea as that Jackson 5 reunion was all those years ago.

"Tito, my hair!"
In this Article: CHIP KELLY | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES | MARCUS MARIOTA | NFL DRAFT

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