I don't know if the Eagles are going to get Marcus Mariota. Philadelphia picks at No. 20 in the 2015 NFL Draft and there's no guarantee they'll be able to move up high enough to get him. They can't force another team to make a deal with them. What I do know is that I'll find it hard to believe if Chip Kelly doesn't do everything in his power to get him.
This section of Jason La Canfora's recent report on the Eagles really stood out to me today:
"People in contact with Kelly through his initial NFL coaching interviews say he gushed about Mariota even way back then, calling him the most talented player he had ever worked with, a tremendous kid and glowing quarterback whom Kelly believed "would win multiple Super Bowls."
That's such strong praise. And that's not just a media fluff quote. It was something Kelly said in private behind closed doors. It likely reflects how he truly feels about his former quarterback.
Pair this with the public comments Kelly has made about his former quarterback:
"He’s a special player and he’s just got a gift for playing football. He’s everything you want. He can throw the ball, he can run. He’s the most talented kid I coached in college." (Source)
"He might be the fastest guy on the field. But his mind is even faster... thinks like Peyton Manning." (Source)
"Multiple Super Bowls." "Peyton Manning." OK, so those things don't exactly go together since Peyton only has one ring. But that's not the point - the sentiment here is Kelly reallllllllllly likes Mariota. This certainly isn't news, but rather a reminder.
Kelly's recent cost-cutting moves such as releasing veteran players and trading LeSean McCoy indicate he's planning to do something big this offseason. More specifically, he's building his team. I'm not alone in thinking this:
Chip is building his team. You build teams around a quarterback. Chip is going to get his quarterback.— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) March 4, 2015
For those unconvinced Eagles are going hard after Mariota... Think they're making all these huge moves and then building around Nick Foles?— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) March 4, 2015
Speaking of Foles, I know he still has a lot of supporters. I'm not sure the Eagles decision makers feel the same way. Recently I stumbled across this quote from a Jeff McLane article last year:
"If you’ve wondered why the Eagles haven’t climbed to the highest mountain to scream their devotion to Nick Foles, you aren’t the only one. Howie Roseman was a little more emphatic about the team’s support of Foles, but the Eagles general manager and coach Chip Kelly have yet to say anything that equates to – "Foles is our quarterback. He’s our future. Period." And people around the league are noticing, particularly some that are close to the third-year quarterback. Foles is obviously the starting quarterback in 2014. And the Eagles can’t technically say he’s their long-term quarterback because he still can’t receive a contract extension. But the less-than-full backing suggests that Kelly and Roseman are still leaving themselves some wiggle room in case Foles regresses this season. Some believe the Eagles still have doubts. It will be hard to top last year’s 27-touchdown, two-interception, 119.2-passer rating season, but there is certainly room for improvement. The worst that could happen to the Eagles would be for Foles to perform somewhere in that nether region that often forces teams to move forward with a quarterback they’re less than convinced can win them a Super Bowl."
So the Eagles already weren't convinced about him and then he went out and led the NFL in turnovers before suffering yet another injury in his three-year career. Maybe I'm wrong, but I hardly think the Eagles are eager to give him another chance.
Whether a trade up for Mariota is the right move or not is definitely open to debate. But at this point I do think there's a fairly decent chance it ends up happening. Again, no sources here. I'm just looking at the recent reports and having a hard time seeing how Kelly doesn't get his guy if he truly wants him. Kelly's building his team and he's going to want his quarterback.
A quarterback that he believes can "win multiple Super Bowls."