Will Chip Kelly Get His Guy in Mariota?
On Friday afternoon, it was reported that wide receiver Brandon Marshall was being traded from the Chicago Bears to the New York Jets for a fifth round pick in this year’s draft. After the news broke, it is likely that nobody rejoiced more than the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly. Kelly, who was recently put in charge of all player acquisitions for the Eagles, has made a point to try get many of his former players he coached at Oregon, most recently Kiko Alonso. And, no player is more coveted by the Kelly and the Eagles than former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who in the majority of mock drafts is projected to go to the New York Jets.
So, why was Chip Kelly rejoicing after the Jets traded for Marshall?
Mariota, with his questionable accuracy and tendency to keep the ball and run, does not seem to fit the kind of quarterback that Marshall and Jets’ number two receiver Eric Decker need throwing them the ball. But, Kelly has a player on his team that does fit that mold. Nick Foles.
Foles has a career completion percentage of over 60%, and is a pocket passer that has 46 career touchdowns compared to just 17 interceptions. He would be a much better fit for the Jets than Mariota because he would give Marshall and Decker, who have a combined nine seasons with 1,000+ yards receiving, the time they need to physically work the defenders and get open. Furthermore, Foles already has three years of experience in the NFL. With a veteran receiving core, Foles is a better fit to lead a team of veterans than a rookie quarterback who will experience growing pains.
With his Nick Foles trade chip in hand, Chip Kelly could offer the Jets Foles, a first round pick (20th overall), and both of their fourth round picks to move up to the sixth spot in the draft. This would help the Jets get their desired quarterback and add some depth to a draft where they have already given up their fourth and fifth round picks for Harvin and Marshall.
This would be a risky move for the Eagles because there is no guarantee that Mariota would not be taken off of the board earlier. However, it is very likely that Jameis Winston will go number one overall to the Buccaneers. After that, picks two through five will likely look elsewhere as they’ve all taken quarterbacks recently in previous drafts. It’s possible that another team will try to trade up to one of those higher picks to get Mariota, but the Eagles will likely still have their second and third round picks along with the number six overall pick to offer any team in the top five.
The Jets are the only team in the top six that seem to be a good landing spot for both Nick Foles and Marcus Mariota. The fact that the Jets seem to want to win now (with their trade for the 30 year old Marshall) should have Chip Kelly rejoicing. It is not likely that a deal would get done until the day of the NFL Draft, so there is still a lot of things that can happen leading up to the draft. But, as for right now, Kelly has to be feeling pretty good about his chances of landing his coveted prize, Marcus Mariota.