The theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking recently spoke at a lecture series in Australia and was asked (of all things) about how Zayn Malik’s departure from the band One Direction would impact teenage girls across the world. His response was great: "My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes. It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe, and in that universe Zayn is still in One Direction." After some laughs, he added, "The girl may also like to know that in another possible universe, she and Zayn are happily married." And so it is with Eagles’ fans and Marcus Mariota.
If there are multiple universes out there, this may very well be one in which Chip Kelly zooms up the draft board to snatch Mariota. Or it may not. Given the number of factors involved to make such a move, the odds are not in our favor, though the possibility most certainly exists.
But what if the Eagles don’t zoom up the draft board and stay put at pick 20? Any number of things can still happen. Chip could select a player to fill a need, or select the best player available on his board, or do something else entirely. In order to see some possibilities, I simulated the draft 1,000 times. Sadly, none of those 1,000 iterations involved the Eagles drafting Mariota. Use the data viz above to interact with the results. Here are some highlights:
- If the Eagles selection is based on best available, then RB Melvin Gordon is the pick 26% of the time. Given our stable of running backs, this isn’t the greatest choice. Moving down the list, DE Randy Gregory is selected the second most, 18.5% of the time, followed by OT Andrus Peat (13%).
- If the Eagles’ selection is based on filling a need, then CB Kevin Johnson is the pick 35% of the time, followed by FS Damarious Randall (29%) and FS Adrian Amos (21%).
- When you click on the "Dig Deeper" tab, you’ll see that, in this simulation, Marcus Mariota is drafted by the New York Jets the most, followed by the Oakland Raiders, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oddly, Tennessee avoids Mariota completely. This is either evidence that the Titans are screening a whole lot of smoke, or that this simulation is a bunch of crap. You decide (I’ll go with the latter since it’s impossible that every team is working from the same Big Board, like this simulation does).
Regardless, I will take comfort in the fact that somewhere out there exists a universe where Marcus Mariota is a Philadelphia Eagle, and I’m married to him.