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Marcus Mariota declares for 2015 NFL Draft

And so it begins.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN insider Chris Mortensen, Oregon Ducks senior Marcus Mariota will forgo his senior season and instead enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

The 2014 Heisman trophy award-winner figures to be one of the best quarterbacks available in the upcoming draft class. With the Eagles' quarterback situation unclear, and head coach Chip Kelly having an obvious connection to his former college quarterback, don't expect the speculation connecting Mariota to the Eagles to end any time soon.

In fact, it was just the other day Kelly gushed about Mariota on ESPN prior to the College Football Playoff Championship Game between Oregon and Ohio State. Kelly went as far as to compare Mariota to future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

"[Mariota] might be the fastest guy on the field. But his mind is even faster... [he] thinks like Peyton Manning," Kelly said.

While there's no question about Kelly's love for Mariota, there is a question about the quarterback's availability. The Eagles will pick at No. 20 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, which means 19 teams ahead of them will have a shot at drafting the Oregon quarterback. A number of those teams could use one, too, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who pick at No. 1 overall.

But will Mariota go as high as expected? It's up for debate. Some think he could fall lower than expected. If that's the case, the Eagles could potentially engineer a trade up to get him. If not, it would take a huge trade offer for the Eagles to move up high enough to get him.

Mariota to the Eagles may very well be a pipe-dream. But for fans, using your imagination is exactly what the NFL season is all about.

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