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Chip Kelly really loves Marcus Mariota

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Whatever it takes?

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

During a conference call on Thursday morning, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. stated he doesn't believe there's a franchise quarterback in the 2015 NFL Draft class. Kiper specifically said that Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota may become one after some NFL seasoning, but he isn't one right now.

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly may disagree with that assessment. Kelly, who coached the Ducks before being hired by Philadelphia, had some heaping praise for his former college quarterback. But he wouldn't take credit for Mariota's success.

"It had nothing to do with me," Kelly said. "When he was a freshman I remarked, ‘This kid’s going to win the Heisman.'"

Kelly's prediction is soon about to come true. To no surprise, Mariota was revealed as a Heisman finalist early in the week. Having thrown 38 touchdowns to only two interceptions, along with rushing for 14 scores, he's the clear favorite to win the award.

"He’s a special player and he’s just got a gift for playing football," Kelly said. "He’s everything you want. He can throw the ball, he can run. He’s the most talented kid I coached in college."

It's easy to imagine that Kelly would love to be paired up with his former standout. Philadelphia's quarterback situation is currently unclear, and Mariota could be the answer. Of course, the only problem is that it seems unlikely he ends up in the City of Brotherly Love. Many teams will be eager to draft him long before the Eagles get their chance. But that doesn't mean that Kelly won't try his hardest to get him. It just probably means the Eagles will try and come up short.