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The Eagles Mariota Conundrum

College success doesn't always translate into the NFL

Billy’s Beat on the NFL Today

As everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows, the Eagles are interested in acquiring Oregon quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who is slated to go first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Unfortunately for Eagles fans, they do not possess that number one pick. Is it best for Chip Kelly to go with what he has or to get his blue chip prospect from his college days?

Marcus Mariota possesses every quality that Chip Kelly wants in a quarterback. He’s fast, a quick decision maker, and rarely turns the ball over. According to the Eagles’ head coach, Mariota processes information, namely reads, faster than any quarterback he has ever coached. That in itself could make the Oregon man a game changer for the Philly offense. Additionally, Mariota has been lauded as the Peyton Manning of this generation, drawing high praise from not just his former coach, but football pundits and experts from around the league.

Winning in the NFL isn't as easy as doing it in the Pac-12, or would it be for Kelly and Mariota?

Winning in the NFL isn’t as easy as doing it in the Pac-12, or would it be for Kelly and Mariota?

With that kind of praise, it’s hard to deny that this kid is as close to a sure thing as any prospect we have seen in the past decade. Imagine the Eagles with Peyton Manning; they’re the best team in the NFC, and potentially the entire league.

However, the fact that Kelly and the Eagles faithful must remind themselves is that there’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to the NFL Draft. Joey Harrington is probably the best NFL quarterback to come out of Oregon, which is hardly high praise for the Pac-12 program. Mariota has not emerged from the football pedigree that typically produces the top NFL talent, and many experts cannot decide if we’re seeing a changing of the guard, or simply a bust waiting to happen.

I love Marcus Mariota’s star studded career at Oregon, as much as the biggest Ducks fan, but not at the price it would cost the Eagles.

When arguing against trading for the number one overall pick, the Washington Redskins have made life extremely easy, as fans can continually go back to the trade to acquire RG3. The Redskins gave up a treasure trove of first round picks to acquire Baylor’s only Heisman winner, and the results have been mixed at best.

The jury is still out on whether this electrifying game-changer can turn a franchise around.

The jury is still out on whether this electrifying game-changer can turn a franchise around.

 

While his one playoff season certainly brought joy to a discouraged Redskin fan base, Robert Griffin has been a disappointment since his injury, despite encouraging play at the end of this season. Additionally, the Redskins are devoid of picks to help put pieces around RG3, forced instead into the expensive option of free agency, which is incapacitating in the salary cap controlled NFL. Without picks and without a healthy RG3, Washington fans have effectively been robbed of the future of their franchise.

One day, I may come to eat the words written above as it’s entirely possible RG3 bounces back and its even more likely that Marcus Mariota turns into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks over the next decade. However, mortgaging the future of your franchise for one player is asinine.

I don’t believe the Eagles can win a Super Bowl with Nick Foles or Mark Sanchez, and for that reason if they want to go all in on Mariota, hope they land their franchise quarterback, and hope one day the residents of Philadelphia will erect a statue of Chip Kelly in south Philly to commemorate their first ever championship, I certainly wouldn’t blame them for it. But if we look at the very recent past of the Redskins, the inconsistency of Oregon quarterbacks in the NFL, and the difficulties of building through free agency in a salary cap sport, it seems the Eagles must look elsewhere for their franchise signal caller.

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