Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why Marcus Mariota To The Eagles Doesn't Work

What Was, And Won't Be Again
This topic has, of course, been all over the greater Philadelphia area, as Eagle Fan tries to deal with his lack of playoff anxiety, particularly now that we've all been saved from the nightmare that would be a deep Cowboys playoff run.

And I get why people want the guy, honest, I do. Mariota has prototype size, speed, arm strength and a full understanding of the Chip Kelly offense from his time at Oregon. Kelly presumably likes him, having recruited and started him while holding the college job. And the Eagles don't have anything that looks world-beating at QB, with slow-footed QB1 Nick Foles coming off a shaky year with repeated injury issues, and QB2 Mark Sanchez confirming his level as a not good enough to win turnover machine. (QB3 Matt Barkley didn't beat out Sanchez for the job, so we're pretty sure he's no threat to pull off a Cardale Jones anytime soon.) It's hard to argue the idea that winning the Super Bowl requires a top-flight QB, and if you believe Mariota is the guy, well, fortune favors the bold, and every pick has its price.

But, well, here's why it makes no sense.

1) There has to be a willing trade partner.

If you are the Bucs or Titans, you don't have a QB1 and you've got the pick, with only two QBs of note in this year's draft class. It's hard to see the Bucs not going for the home state Jamesis Winston, and the Titans not taking Mariota. And while both teams have a lot of holes, and might be open to a Bob Griffin-style trade, there are plenty of teams with more to offer than the Eagles sitting at 20.

2) It doesn't address the obvious need.

In 2013, the Eagles had a low turnover offense against a fourth place schedule, and one of the best offenses in the NFL. In 2014, the Eagles had a high turnover offense against a division winning schedule, and one of the best offenses in the NFL. In both seasons, they had injury issues at the QB position. How much different would they be, really, with a mobile rookie QB?

This is a team with one half-decent S, Malcolm Jenkins, who is better against the run. They have a good, but undersized, CB3 in Brandon Boykin, and he might walk in a year to go get paid by a team that lets him be a CB2. The starting corners were a mess, the second S erratic, the MLB is on the wrong side of 30 and coming off a major injury. I, can, frankly, think of many more pressing needs than QB.

3) It negates the point of having an innovative offense.

The best team in the NFL last year, and maybe this year, is Seattle. That team is getting solid QB play from a relatively low draft pick in Russell Wilson. Their most likely opponent, New England, has benefitted for over a decade from finding a Hall of Fame QB late in the draft. Green Bay's HOF-bound QB went late in the first and sat for years. Only Indy has followed the tank and take method with Andrew Luck.

The idea beyond hiring an innovative offensive mind, especially when it works with QBs that are not highly regarded, is that you can get elite-level production from the position, without having to pay a premium for it. So your top picks can go for other positions, particularly areas where top-level players are (a) durable, and (b) prone to big differences over average players.

In short: Kelly's scheme has gotten a top offense out of ordinary QBs. It hasn't done that with CB, or LB, and maybe not OL, either.

So, in summation...

> You won't be able to get the guy
> You have other positions with far more urgent issues
> And if your coach is what he's supposed to be, you don't need him.

So... we're going to discuss it until the NFL Draft is over, right?

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