When the 2015 NFL Draft starts on the evening of Thursday, April 30, it might not take very long until Marcus Mariota is off the board. There's a lot of speculation that he could go as soon as No. 2 to the Tennessee Titans. There's even more speculation that a team, including the Philadelphia Eagles, could trade up to No. 2 to select Mariota.
But even if a trade doesn't happen and the Titans end up taking him, it's possible he might never play a down for them. NFL Insider Jason La Canfora is now suggesting that a Mariota trade could take place "days or week after" this year's NFL Draft is finalized.
Here's what La Canfora specifically had to say about the possibility of Mariota to the Eagles.
"I could easily foresee a scenario where Kelly flops Bradford in a three-way deal with the Browns, with Cleveland getting the former first-overall pick and the Eagles flipping the first round pick they get for him, plus a future top pick in say 2016 to grab Mariota. Kelly made a huge impression on Haslam, the Browns' owner, when he interviewed for their job a few years back. He knows he could do business with them if need be and he knows the Browns will trade one of their number one picks for Bradford assuming it's not part of a package to get Mariota.
Sure, all of this may be a little outside the box. It's not the norm. But people have to understand that with this new collective bargaining agreement, and with these draft picks such a cheap, fixed cost now, the business has changed. In the past you may have had to pay a premium when trading up for a quarterback in terms of what you had to pay him, and the element of "signability" mattered. No longer. Doesn't matter who his agent is, or that you got him via trade or that he's going to throw a football for a living rather than block or run. The second overall pick is going to cost you just the same financially, and that only helps keep trade options alive.
There are more wheeler-dealers in the game now, and more trades in general than we've seen before, and more involving big names. We see more trades inside the top 10 than we used to and we've seen more youngsters dealt only a few years after being selected high in the draft.
The old draft value chart was long ago thrown out the window. Used to be it was impossible for teams to move up too much. Then we had the Julio Jones trade. The D.J. Hayden and Dion Jordan draft-day deals showed us, again, that every trade scenario is unique and can't be viewed through the old wide prism of the value chart. These picks can't bury your cash and cap like they used to, and in a draft like this, with maybe 16 players worthy of a legit first-round grade, and so much beauty in the eye of the beholder and scheme-specific, this draft has the potential for all kinds of transactions.
Adding iconoclasts like Kelly to the league – wildly aggressive and unconcerned with convention – has only increased the potential for things not usually seen, and this being a copycat league and all, well, he seems to have stirred other teams to be more creative or proactive as well."
Now, as La Canfora even notes, this would hardly be a conventional trade situation. NFL teams don't typically draft players only to trade them away shortly afterwards. That's more of an NBA-type thing. But if there was ever a time for an unconventional trade to be made, it wouldn't be surprising to see Chip Kelly involved in it. Especially when it involves his former star signal caller who he has gushed over multiple times.
So even if the Eagles don't walk away with Mariota on draft night, the trade rumors might not be stopping any time soon.