At Section 215, we spent a majority of last summer discussing the potential of the Sixers trading up to draft Andrew Wiggins, something that ultimately never happened. That may end up being what happens with our coverage of Marcus Mariota, but it doesn’t appear we’ll definitively know that until he is holding up another team’s jersey at this month’s draft.
In the meantime, the storyline isn’t going to die. Things may have drastically slowed down from where they were about five weeks ago — when it seemed more likely than not that Mariota would end up in Philadelphia — but the thought of Kelly landing his college Quarterback hasn’t completely died.
And if for nothing other than trying to justify why every local and national person with any sort of inside knowledge was hearing the same stuff in regards to the team’s interest in Mariota, it probably isn’t going to die until April 30th.
When asked about the subject in a mailbag, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com didn’t seem to think that it had become far-fetched that the team would still land the 2014 Heisman Trophy recipient. In fact, if a few things broke the Eagles way, he thinks it may be more likely than not.
"The obvious key is the Tennessee Titans. If they take Leonard Williams, a defensive tackle out of USC, the Eagles’ chances skyrocket. I would put the Eagles’ chances at Mariota, if Williams goes No. 2, at right around 55%.If Mariota goes off the board at No. 2, it would mean either the Titans decided to simply take him, or it would mean that another team moved up to get him. If another team moves up, chances are it will be the San Diego Chargers, who have dangled quarterback Phillip Rivers as a trade piece. Rivers, although he is older than Bradford, is going to make it tough for the Eagles to beat the Chargers offer.So I would put the Eagles’ chances at landing Mariota, if he goes at No. 2 overall, at 40%.Overall, put me down right now at about 51% percent that the Eagles get their hands on Mariota."
Shorr-Parks seems to think that the Eagles interest could get serious if Mariota makes it past the number two spot. Last week, Sheil Kapadia of Birds 24/7 joined me for an exclusive interview, suggesting that if Mariota slid past the Jets at the six spot, the Eagles would make a serious push for Mariota.
"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."
Kapadia has also suggested in the past, and I agree with him, that the Eagles may have done exploratory work on moving up with a team like the Titans, and found that the price may have been too steep to move up.
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Of course, once things get closer to the draft, Chip Kelly may have a change of heart. Shorr-Parks’ idea of the Eagles getting Mariota in the top-five could actually happen. Kapadia suggesting the Eagles would be interested in Mariota if he slides past the sixth spot will almost certainly become a moot point. At this point, him sliding out of the top five to even get to the sixth spot doesn’t appear likely to happen.
After working out for the Buccaneers yesterday, Mariota will visit and work-out for the Titans tomorrow. If the Titans elect to take Mariota at the number two spot, then obviously the Eagles interest becomes irrelevant. But given the lack of an obvious fit in Ken Wisenhunt’s offense, and the seeming change of heart on Mariota in the past 10 days, consider me in the camp that thinks the Titans don’t actually intend to take Mariota. Might they? Yeah, but they will be on the phone up until the last second that they have to turn their pick in listening to trade offers from other interested teams. And there’s no reason to think the Eagles, who still have Sam Bradford as a potential trade chip, wouldn’t be one of those teams.