Football has been over for two weeks now. It's a quiet time in the league and there are 73 days until the 2015 NFL Draft begins on April 30, so let's kill some time with our regularly scheduled Mock Draft Monday series. Don't forget to also check out last week's mock draft roundup along with Mike Kaye's BGN mock draft (Version 2.0).
This week the Eagles are taking another secondary player. Wait, no... it's a quarterback! SB Nation's draft writer Dan Kadar has Philadelphia moving all the way up to pick No. 2 in a trade with the Tennessee Titans. This makes sense given the recent report that the Titans are sticking with Zach Mettenberger and plan to pass on a passer.
Here's a quick look at the description of the Eagles' pick:
"2) Marcus Mariota - The Eagles trading up and the Titans trading down is either the best idea or the worst. There is nothing in between. He could catapult the Eagles to the next level or torpedo the franchise if he fails."
Surprise, surprise. It's no secret that Kelly loves his former college quarterback. You know, the guy he compared to Peyton Manning. Reports indicates that the Eagles are "going to try" to trade up for Mariota, and one NFL scout thinks the Eagles will do the deal even if it means mortgaging Philadelphia's future.
So what did the Eagles give up to get Mariota in this mock? Let's take a look:
"As the mock draft below shows, the highest Philadelphia would need to rise is to the No. 2 pick, belonging to the Tennessee Titans. Dropping that far in the first round is dangerous, but it makes some sense for the Titans. They have a roster thin on talent and could add several building blocks in a deep draft.
To project this trade, we have to get an understanding of similar blockbuster deals. The last time a team traded its entire draft (and more) for a single player was the New Orleans Saints in 1999. Head coach Mike Ditka coveted running back Ricky Williams and sent Washington first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh round picks in 1999 and picks in the first and third rounds in 2000. New Orleans got their guy in Williams. Washington could have done more with their stock of picks, but decided to trade five of them to Chicago to draft cornerback Champ Bailey. The only thing that saved Washington from completely screwing this up was New Orleans being terrible the next season, which got Washington the No. 2 pick. In the end, Washington basically got Bailey and linebacker LaVar Arrington. Bailey was good, sure, but he only played for five seasons in Washington. Arrington was in Washington for just four seasons. Really, we all lost here.
Then there is the mythical Herschel Walker trade between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota sent five players, three first- and second-round picks and one third- and sixth-round pick. Minnesota got Walker, two third-round picks, a fifth-round pick and a 10th-round pick. Dallas built a dynasty with that collection of picks and Walker played just three seasons for the Vikings. The trade is so infamous there’s a dang Wikipedia page for it.
The most famous and recent blockbuster trade again involved Washington. They sent three first-round picks and a second-round pick to St. Louis to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Rams turned that pick into eight players, among them starters like Alec Ogletree, Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins on defense and last year’s No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson. It’s still too early to call a winner, especially with the way the Rams have remained mediocre, but they turned the pick into several starters. For the Titans, that would be the goal. How about this for the fake trade itself? Philadelphia gets the No. 2 overall pick and takes Mariota.
Tennessee gets Philadelphia’s entire draft and a first-round pick in 2016. That brings it fairly close to what Washington got from New Orleans in the Williams trade. That would give Tennessee 14 picks this year. Those can be used to draft straight-up or position themselves to take the players they covet."
Kadar's reasoning hits the nail on the head. There's obviously a lot of risk with a move like this, but it could potentially be worth it. Some would argue doing whatever it takes to get Chip Kelly his quarterback is worth the price. Others would rather stick with Nick Foles and address the defense.
But while the boom/bust nature of a Mariota trade can be seen as risky, it might be even more dangerous to commit to mediocrity. The Eagles don't want to get stuck in quarterback purgatory like the Cincinnati Bengals are with Andy Dalton or the Kansas City Chiefs with Alex Smith.
After the 2014 season, Jeffrey Lurie didn't really give Foles a strong endorsement. He also said the Eagles “have to try to win big and focus on [the quarterback] position at all times."
Plus, Foles is a free agent after the 2015 season. If he doesn't pan out, Kelly could be entering his fourth year of a five-year contract without an answer at the most important position in the sport.
Mariota isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all for the Eagles. But finding Kelly's franchise quarterback is. Whether that's Mariota, Foles, or someone else, the team needs a long-term answer.
What do you think of this week's pick? Would you be OK with the Eagles trading the entire 2015 draft along with a 2016 first round pick for Marcus Mariota?