In each of Chip Kelly’s first two seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles have gone 10-6 and finished with a top-four scoring offense.
They’ve also finished 28th or worse in total defense.
And yet, CBS Sports NFL insider Pete Prisco believes that the Eagles, who own the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft, should trade up – not to fill a need at linebacker or in the secondary, but rather, to draft Marcus Mariota.
“Because if you don’t cure your quarterback situation, you’re going to be a problem team for a long time,” Prisco said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “And by that, I mean you might hang around, (but) you’re never going to be able to win the whole thing. And I say it this way: Unless you build arguably one of the great defenses of all time – which is what they’ve done in Seattle, what they did in Baltimore, what they did years ago in Tampa, what they did in Chicago back in the 80s – (you need a quarterback to win). If you don’t have (an elite defense), you better have the quarterback to have sustainable success – and they don’t.”
No, the Eagles have Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez, who attempted 311 and 309 passes, respectively, last season and posted eerily similar stats. They combined for 27 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
“They don’t have a quarterback that fits what they do,” Prisco said. “I know they put up good offensive numbers and with Nick Foles and with Mark Sanchez, but can you imagine what they can do offensively if they had the right guy, the guy that fits that system? And I think that guy is Marcus Mariota. So when you look at it, you know what? Go up, make the deal, get him, and make sure you solidify your quarterback position for the next decade.”
Doug Gottlieb agrees. He agrees that you need a quarterback to win, and if Mariota is the perfect guy for Kelly’s system, the Eagles should make a play for him.
But what will it cost them to do so?
Prisco believes it would take next year’s first-round pick, as well as a second- and third-rounder – either this year or next.
Is that a lot? Yes.
But think of the possibilities.
“If you get Mariota and you put him in there and he’s the guy that makes people respect the run part of the read-option – which they don’t do now with the current makeup of the quarterback position – that’s a chance to put you over the top,” Prisco said. “So I think you make a deal.”
Especially considering the quarterback crop – or lack thereof – in next year’s class. The top three quarterback prospects might all come from the Big Ten: Michigan State’s Connor Cook, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg and Ohio State’s Cardale Jones. And of those three, Cook is the only senior-to-be – and none of them could run Kelly’s system better than Mariota.
“Where are the quarterbacks?” Prisco asked. “If you have a chance to get a guy that fits, you go get him.”