Sheil Kapadia ‘Wouldn’t be Surprised’ if Eagles Trade up For Marcus Mariota


Two weeks ago, in the midst of the most hectic 10 day period in Philadelphia Eagles history, Tim McManus joined Somers Price and I to discuss a host of topics on the team. A couple weeks later, and his parnter on Birds 24/7, Sheil Kapadia, was nice enough to sit down and answer some pre-draft, somewhat post free-agency questions with me.

And yeah, he kept the idea of the Quarterback from Oregon possibility being reunited with Chip Kelly alive.

*My questions are marked with a TK at the beginning and Sheil’s answers are marked with SK. 

TK: Now that there’s been some time for the dust to settle, how thus far do you feel about perhaps the craziest off-season in Philadelphia sports history?

SK: It really was insane, wasn’t it? More people read Birds 24/7 in March than ever before (Editor’s note: the same goes for this site), which is remarkable considering the Eagles didn’t even play a game.

I have mixed feelings about what the Eagles did. I’m on board with the LeSean McCoy trade because they added a Pro Bowl-caliber inside linebacker who doesn’t carry a big salary in Kiko Alonso. I like the Byron Maxwell signing. Sometimes, you have to overpay at premium positions. And I like the Brandon Graham re-signing.

I don’t understand pouring so much money into the running back position with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. The price they paid for Sam Bradford carries too much risk for my taste (taking into account his salary, injury history and the second-round pick they gave up).

Overall, I think the defense should be better, but I have serious questions about WR, safety and CB2. Oh, and quarterback also.

TK: Why should Eagles fans believe that despite nearly all evidence suggesting DeMarco Murray will fall off a cliff after 380 carries in 2014, he will be productive over the next few seasons?

SK: Sports science? That’s partially a joke, but clearly the Eagles feel like they have a competitive advantage with the way they train. Given Murray’s workload last year and injury history (has only played 16 games once), that signing confused me.

When the Eagles traded McCoy, my feeling was that Kelly thought he could do more with less at the running back spot. Instead, they paid out $23M guaranteed to Murray and Mathews.

I think Murray’s a good player, and maybe he’ll do well if he’s not carrying such a heavy load. But if that’s the plan, then why pay up $18M guaranteed?

TK: Is Chris Polk on the Eagles roster—and dressed—week one next year? 

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SK: I’ll say no. Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles seem like locks to make the roster, barring something unforeseen. And this draft is said to be loaded at RB. The guess here is that the Eagles draft one, and Polk is unloaded before next season starts.

TK: What position do you believe the Eagles are most likely to target in the draft?

SK: I’ll give you two: Wide Receiver and Safety.

Wide Receiver is said to be loaded, and I would be stunned if the Eagles didn’t draft a pass-catcher. They could very well go that route in the first three rounds.

Safety is a huge need position. The team wanted to add Devin McCourty, but he re-signed with the Patriots. It’s not a talented safety class, but the Eagles will try to find someone who fits their scheme.

The Offensive Line will be addressed too.

You asked for one, and I gave you three. Sorry, I’m not very good at following directions.

TK: What range do you believe Marcus Mariota would have to fall to for the Eagles to make a serious run at him?

SK: Honestly, nothing would surprise me, and that includes trading up to No. 2 to get the Titans’ pick. But the price to move that high could just end up being too much, especially if there are other teams looking to grab Mariota.

If he gets past the Jets at No. 6, I think things will get really interesting, and I’d be stunned if the Eagles didn’t make a serious move to get him if it plays out that way.

TK: Assuming Walter Thurmond can stay healthy, which may be a risky assumption, do you see any serious chance of Brandon Boykin starting outside at corner next season?

SK: Nothing I have seen from the Eagles’ coaches suggests they are willing to give Boykin a shot on the outside, and I think that’s a mistake. I’m not saying he’d be perfect, and I understand wanting height, but at some point you have to decide a shorter guy with ability (Boykin) is better than a taller guy who’s not as talented (say, Bradley Fletcher).

Maybe they’ll change their tune, but I doubt it. Thurmond, who is 5-11, is more likely to get a shot on the outside.

TK: Where do you believe the Eagles fall in the pecking order of the NFC East currently?

SK: Tough one. I’d say they’re probably right behind Dallas. Even with the loss of Murray, the Cowboys are talented offensively. And while I’m no fan of Greg Hardy, he will obviously bring some pass-rush.

I don’t agree with all of the Eagles’ offseason moves, but I still think they will compete for the NFC East next year. Washington didn’t really seem to address its weaknesses, and other than Odell Beckham, I’m not crazy about the Giants’ talent.

TK: How confident do you feel, pre-draft, in the direction of the Chip Kelly run Eagles?

SK: I’m confident in Kelly the coach. I think he’s innovative, smart and engaging. I’m not sold on Kelly the personnel man. I think some of his scouting measurables may be too stringent, and he seems to think a lot of talented guys are easily replaceable.

He could end up being really good at the personnel gig, but I need to see more to be a true believer.

TK: Thanks for your time, Sheil.

SK: No problem, Tim.