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NFL Draft Rumors: One GM says Marcus Mariota will be taken at No. 2

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The Oregon quarterback could be long gone by the time the Eagles pick at No. 20.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Marcus Mariota rumors refuse to die. And as Jimmy Kempski recently noted, it's not all just media-driven boredom.

"We reported about a month ago that the Eagles appear determined to get Mariota. That has not changed."

One of the latest rumors surrounding the Oregon quarterback doesn't directly involve the Eagles, but it's worth noting nonetheless.

According to Jason La Canfora, one NFL general manager is convinced Mariota will go No. 2 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Titans currently own that pick, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt had some generous praise for Mariota at the NFL owner's meetings, but the anonymous NFL GM doesn't necessarily think it'll be Tennessee who drafts him:

"He's going second overall. I don't know to which team, but he's going second overall."

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that the Titans are "very comfortable" with second year quarterback Zach Mettenberger and they'd be willing to take Leonard Williams at No. 2 if they can't make a trade.

If true, the Eagles would have to go up a long way from No. 20 to get Mariota. Kelly has already downplayed the idea of mortgaging the future to trade up high in the draft. He furthered that notion on Wednesday.

"We could talk hypotheticals all day," Kelly said. "Philosophically, I want to build through the draft. So if you gut yourself for one year and one guy, philosophically I don't think that's the right thing to do."

Kelly then explained why he doesn't think giving up picks is a good idea.

"Philosophically? (Because) more players are better than one player. Philosophically. Just look at the history of the game. Study all the trades. What set the Cowboys going forward. They traded one player (Herschel Walker) for multiple players. The draft isn’t an exact science. You’ve got a better chance of hitting if you have more draft picks than if you have less draft picks. That’s basically it philosophically."

Not too long after, he noted there are exceptions.

"It’s a philosophy. There are exceptions to every philosophy. People used to think the world was flat, philosophically. Until that guy took the boat and just kept going and it didn’t fall off the edge, right?"

Getting back to Canfora's report, keep in mind this is draft season and smokescreens are in full effect. This could be a case of Tennessee trying to drum up trade interest in their No. 2 pick. The Titans seem like a team that would really want to trade down for a bevy of picks. They sorely lack talent all over the roster and having a chance to load up on talent like that could be what they need to get back on the map.

But the opportunity might not be there. Perhaps teams really aren't sold on Mariota and he will fall in the draft like some expect. It's really hard to say at this point. It seems like he's going to be drafted high, but I just really can't help but think of last year when most "experts" thought Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel would be drafted higher than they were. Mel Kiper's final mock draft had Manziel at No. 7 and Bridgewater at No. 26. Todd McShay had Manziel at No. 16 and Bridgewater at No. 26. Manziel went No. 22 and Bridgewater went No. 32. Then again, both analysts had Bortles outside the top 10 and he went No. 3 overall. Let this be yet another reminder that mock drafts don't accurately reflect how NFL teams value various prospects.

I don't think it's likely Mariota falls and/or ends up on the Eagles. I just don't think it's out of the question, either.