Everybody suddenly thinks Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles are going to go all-in and make a run at the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft in order to select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
In the days leading up to the draft, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Adam Schefter of ESPN, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com have all either cited sources or have speculated that the Eagles are going to do whatever it takes to move up far enough to draft Mariota.
While there is universal agreement that Kelly would love to have Mariota — Kelly called his former recruit the best quarterback in the draft — nobody seems to know for sure how Kelly would pull off the move.
In fact, there are two huge barriers standing in the Eagles’ way.
1. Sam Bradford does not want to play for the Cleveland Browns.
In the most oft-cited scenario for how the Eagles could get from No. 20 to No. 2, Philly would need to trade quarterback Sam Bradford to the Cleveland Browns for one of their first-round picks, Nos. 12 and 19.
The Browns are reportedly interested in acquiring Bradford and the trade would give the Eagles an extra first-round pick they could then deal to the Titans. However, a source told Mark Eckel of NJ.com that Bradford’s agent has told the Browns “he won’t even listen on a contract extension. He won’t even listen, period.”
That doesn’t mean the Browns couldn’t still make the deal for Bradford, who has one year left on his contract. However, to keep Bradford, the Browns would have to give him the franchise tag which would require the team to pay him something in the neighbourhood of $US20 million each season starting in 2016.
2. This year’s draft has only a limited number of first-round quality players.
NFL insider Adam Caplan was a guest on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” and reported that one general manager told him that his team had only ten players on its board with first-round grades.
This means that teams may not view the Eagles’ pick at No. 20 as a true first-round pick. Instead, teams may want to avoid picks in the second-half of the first round where they may end up with a second-round talent and yet still have to pay him first-round money.
In fact, Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network reported that if the Titans do trade down they want to stay within the top 16 or 17 picks in order to still have the chance to draft “an impact player.”
If the Titans are going to make a move, they would be much better off dealing with a team like the Jets, who own pick No. 6.
This doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t ultimately acquire the No. 2 pick.
There has been talk of the Eagles also making some of their top players available, including Fletcher Cox, whom one analyst called a better player than any defensive player available in the draft.
Yet, when most people talk about the possibility of Kelly moving up, instead of mentioning how, they often just speak about Kelly’s creativity and out-of-the-box thinking as if he has the powers to just magically make it happen.
There is little doubt at this point that if anybody could pull off the move, it is Kelly. But this may be one of those moves that even Kelly’s magic can’t make happen.