Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly attempted to throw cold water on rumours that he wants to trade up to draft quarterback Marcus Mariota at a press conference on Wednesday.
Kelly recruited Mariota when he was at Oregon, and has spoken about him in glowing terms in the past. As a result, there’s rampant Mariota-to-Philly speculation.
When asked if the Sam Bradford trade is a precursor to an eventual Mariota trade, Kelly laughed out loud. He called the rumours “crazy,” and said he doesn’t believe in packaging a bunch of draft picks for one player, as the Eagles would have to do to move up and get Mariota.
“Let’s dispel that right now. I think that stuff’s crazy. You guys have been going with that stuff all along. I think Marcus is the best quarterback in the draft. We will never mortgage our future to go all the way up to go get someone like that because we have too many other holes that we’re going to take care of.”
This is to be taken with a grain of salt. If the Eagles were planning on trading up, they wouldn’t go around saying as much. In addition, Kelly doesn’t exactly have a history of being forthcoming with his roster plans. He once said Nick Foles was his starting quarterback for the next “1,000 years.” He also said he wanted to keep LeSean McCoy three months before trading him.
But Kelly was adamant about not trading up, for what it’s worth.
“We’re not going to mortgage our future for any particular player,” he said. “That’s just not philosophically what we think is the right thing to do — that you’re going to package 20 picks to move up from No. 20 to some other spot.”
Later, he hit the media with this zinger when asked if Bradford was a trade chip, “We didn’t bring Sam in here to be a chip. I’m the only Chip here.”
Whether Kelly is being truthful or not, he’s right to say moving up in the draft is a risky proposition. Just look at what happened with the Washington Redskins in 2012.
In order to move up from No. 6 to No. 2 to draft Robert Griffin III, Washington had to send three 1st-round picks and a 2nd-round pick to the Rams. St. Louis, through subsequent trades, turned those picks into eight players. When Kelly talks about “mortgaging the future,” this is what he means:
The only way this sort of trade works out is if the player you trade up to get becomes a perennial All-Pro.
Mariota is currently projected to go No. 6 overall to the New York Jets. The Eagles would have to move up at least 14 spots to get him. For comparison, the Redskins gave up all of those picks and only moved up four spots to get Griffin.