Chris Franklin joins the discussion on whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles should trade up to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota
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. (Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)
PHILADELPHIA (C+P) — With the recent moves the Eagles have made; it is hard not to look toward the future to see how the team can improve. The NFL draft will be held in April this year. One name that some Eagles fans would like to hear selected from Roger Goodell’s mouth is Marcus Mariota.
Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon, is no stranger to head coach Chip Kelly. The two had a few successful seasons together in Oregon. Sounds like a match made in heaven right? A young quarterback with the credentials of Mariota staying in the offense that he has had so much success in would make sense. There is one problem. The Eagles have won too many games to get a draft pick high enough to select him.
The most common thing that is seen on social media websites and sports radio is to trade for him. “Give up whatever you can get him.” “Just give Foles and a first round pick to get him.” These are just some of the things that have been yelled by many frustrated Eagles fans. However, it is not in the best interest of the Eagles to trade up to get Mariota, and there are many reasons why.
“That’s not so bad. Give up the picks, get the quarterback, and we are going to go deep into the playoffs next year.”
Wrong. The defense still needs some serious work. Free agency does not always solve the problem. Remember Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie during the “Dream Team” signings? During the three-game losing streak, the Eagles had last season, the deficiencies in the defense were exposed. The secondary as a unit was below average. Outside linebacker Trent Cole and cornerback Cary Williams were released. Brandon Graham, Nate Allen, and Bradley Fletcher will be free agents. The best way to rebuild is through the draft. A few years ago, the Eagles selected Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Michael Lewis. They were around for a long time and were key cogs in the late Jim Johnson’s defense. With the draft being deep with secondary players, the team will need the picks to select the next nucleus.
“Why don’t we throw in Nick Foles in a trade?”
This is another question that is being thrown around. As crazy as it sounds, the team does not have a full body of work of Nick Foles under Chip Kelly. Early in the season, Foles found himself behind a patchwork offensive line and was injured for the latter part of the season. He is still under his rookie contract for one more year, and it is very cap-friendly.
“I don’t care; Mariota is a sure thing, and he will be great for the next decade.”
Other quarterbacks will be available if the Eagles decide not to move up. The primary traits that Kelly looks for in his signal caller are smart decision-making and accuracy. There are quarterbacks fit these characteristics. There is a decent chance Brett Hundley and Bryce Petty will be there in the first round when the Eagles pick at 20. There are also quarterbacks like Garret Grayson or Shane Carden, who will be good value in later rounds.
It is no guarantee that the Eagles will make the playoffs if they trade up to draft Mariota. There have been 24 quarterbacks selected in the first round since the 2006 draft. Of the 24, only 10 (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Vince Young) were able to take the team that drafted them to the playoffs . To further the point, only three were able to reach the conference championship game. Furthermore, reuniting a coach with his former college quarterback does not always work. Ask Steve Spurrier after having Danny Wuerffel join him with the Redskins.
There is no doubt that Marcus Mariota has the potential to be a talented player in the NFL. He is not the panacea for the Eagles. There are too many things that have to be fixed and investing too much into one player at this point will not be the right solution. It is understandable to be frustrated at this time with the way the season ended. Just breathe in. Now out. It will be OK.