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Monday, January 12, 2015

Why the Eagles Should Not Go "All In" on Marcus Mariota

Eagles' fans seem obsessed with a few aspects of this past season:

1.  Their disappointment in not making the playoffs despite the fact that a) their starting QB was playing hurt and b) they lost their starting QB for most of the season.

2.  Chip Kelly's first-round draft pick was a bust.

3.  Bradley Fletcher, one of their cornerbacks, really was Badly Fletcher.

4.  Finally, that the cure to all of their ills is Oregon's QB, Marcus Mariota.

It's the latter that seems to be an obsession on talk radio.  "Imagine him in our offense."  "He's the best college QB."  "He's the best college QB in a while."  And perhaps he's more of an answer for the Eagles than a guard named Iverson was The Answer for the 76ers.

Here's why that logic is flawed:

1.  No team has ever moved up from #20 to #1 in the first round.
2.  The Eagles' have too many holes in their squad for them to trade their next three #1 picks plus defensive lineman Fletcher Cox.
3.  Mariota's offense has been so dominant that some pundits (prominent among them, Trent Dilfer) wonder how good an NFL QB he will be while others (such as Ron Jaworski) think that he'll be good, but perhaps not right away.
4.  Dad always told me not to draw to an inside straight; it's a risky proposition.  Translated, there has to be more than one answer for the Eagles than opening up the vault of future draft picks for Mariota (the Vikings did that to pry Herschel Walker from the Cowboys, and all of those picks enabled Jimmy Johnson to win a bunch of Super Bowls in Dallas).
5.  Most QBs who have won the Heisman haven't turned out great.

So. . . . the fans should be careful what they wish for.  I'll just take a better draft from Kelly than the one he gave us in 2014.  And perhaps a #1 receiver who can spread the field, an aggressive linebacker and a few defensive backs who scare the opposition.

I like Mariota and think he could be good.  But he has to make more NFL-type throws than he has, as the Oregon offense has enabled him to throw to open receivers more than throw into the tight coverages that NFL receivers normally see.  And that will take some adjustments, but he could well make them.    But still, the Eagles and their fans have to continue to look for answers outside Oregon.  And those answers are out there, and the team and the fans shouldn't be too bummed if somehow they cannot draft Marcus Mariota.


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