We are just hours away from the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and the BGN staff can't help but continue to speculate. The No. 20 pick is in the middle of "no man's land" and the Eagles own that selection. While we can't truly predict how the first 19 picks will shake out, we can predict who the Eagles will take on Thursday night.
Below are our picks for the Eagles.
The Eagles should draft Marcus Mariota. If Chip Kelly believes this is truly a guy who compares to Peyton Manning and will win multiple Super Bowls, they HAVE to get him. Whatever it takes.
If landing Mariota isn't possible, the Eagles might be best suited to make their pick at No. 20 depending how the board shakes out. Bryon Jones makes a lot of sense to me for them. He fits everything Kelly wants. The team doesn't necessarily have an immediate need at cornerback but Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll, and Walter Thurmond aren't under contract after this season.
I'm torn between Byron Jones and trading up for a wide receiver. That said, if the team stays in place, I think you go with Jones. That said, if Chip Kelly's desire to shake things up lands them a top flight wide receiver, it'd be a nice consolation prize to Marcus Mariota. In an ideal world, I'd love Amari Cooper. I guess we shall see...
Chip Kelly didn't seize control of the Eagles to sit back and let things come to him. He was incredibly aggressive in free agency, and there is no reason to think he won't be in the draft. He wants what he wants, and has little problem parting with what he doesn't want. Whoever he winds up trading with will have a lot of holes in their roster, and Chip has players they'll want that he doesn't.
There are a very select few teams in this league who have managed to win a Super Bowl without an elite level quarterback. The Eagles will never be the exception to the rule. They're the Eagles, after all. Go get THE guy at the most important position in sports, who also happens to be THE ideal piece to complete Chip Kelly's offense. The franchise can't afford to waste anymore time, or the Kelly era will end like all the rest -- in disappointment.
If Mariota doesn't happen, Byron Jones is another nice option, as is Breshad Perriman. In closing, go team.
Do I think it's very possible that #WhateverItTakes could happen? Sure. Do I think it's likely? No. This is why I'm going with Jones, a player the Eagles brass clearly like, and someone who could be available, should the Eagles keep the 20th overall pick.
Jones lit up the Combine and has been rising up mock draft boards since. Showing the desired combination of skills, good measurables and #culture fit, Jones would immediately improve a weak secondary and provide him the opportunity to be groomed by proven vets like Malcolm Jenkins and the newly-arrived Byron Maxwell.
As I said last year, I'm not a "draft expert" but I'll avoid the cop-out and assume the Eagles can't get Mariota. The most popular choices from there are safety, wide receiver, cornerback, and offensive lineman. The draft is very deep at receiver, so I say that's their second-rounder, and I might be a Penn State homer but I think Adrian Amos will be a steal for them afterwards. So this leaves cornerback and offensive lineman. The latter is the position of greater need here. Chip Kelly shows off his Duck Bias and takes Jake Fisher, who will replace Todd Herremans and eventually move to right tackle once Lane Johnson replaces Jason Peters.
Mariota, duh. If not possible, at least one great pick - not including Randy Gregory or Shane Ray - will surprise everybody by falling to 20. Pick that guy, whoever it is.
If that too fails, trade down 4-5 slots and pick Jake Fisher.
Execute Chip Kelly's vision. If that means going to get Mariota, then go get Mariota. What do at QB is the most important decision a coach or GM will ever make and almost always has an outsize impact on the fortunes of your franchise. This team brought Chip Kelly here to fundamentally change this franchise inside and out. There's no point in wimping out now.
If it were me though? I'd roll with Sam Bradford and draft the best WR or OL on the board.