For the past three years, Marcus Mariota dazzled and amazed Oregon Duck fans each time he took the field. Whether it was one of his his touchdown passes, his 2014 Heisman season, or the cool and collected demeanor with which he played, there’s no question that “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” left many fans speechless while he wore green and yellow.
Every Duck fan knew that Mariota would eventually move on to the NFL, and even though Oregon never won a national championship with its star quarterback, there’s absolutely no doubt that Mariota’s legacy and persona will forever rest in college football lore.
In order to understand someone’s glory and achievements, you must first understand his struggles and where he came from. Remember when Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich were looking for a new quarterback in 2010? At the time Mariota was an inexperienced, skinny kid, and nobody was actively recruiting Saint Louis High School’s backup quarterback. But Kelly and Helfrich saw great potential in the young Hawaiian, and just a few years later, he was running the flashiest offense in the entire country.
As Mariota continues to prepare for his next journey, the NFL, there’s no telling where he’ll land on draft day. But what if, as many rumors suggest, he is reunited with an old friend?
According to NFL insider Pat Kirwan and his latest mock draft, he predicts that Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will send this year’s draft pick, next year’s draft pick and running back LeSean McCoy to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for Oakland’s fourth overall pick, which would likely give Kelly a great chance to draft his former quarterback. Now, there’s no assurance that this will happen. The Raiders have struggled mightily for more than 12 years now, and you rarely see teams give up a high draft pick, especially if it’s in the top five.
However, it’s no secret that Kelly would absolutely love to have Mariota run his Oregon-like-offense in Philadelphia, but the possibility of the Eagles moving up 16 spots in this year’s draft seems highly unlikely. If there is one thing that Kelly can hang his hat on, though, it’s that nobody knows Mariota better than he does. If Philadelphia truly believes that Mariota can be the franchise quarterback, expect the Eagles to throw the whole kitchen sink for an opportunity to draft Kelly’s former quarterback.
The biggest concern scouts have over Mariota is whether or not he can learn how to play in a pro-style offense. In other words — the ability to play under center and throw from the pocket. If there is anything that Mariota has taught us, it’s to never count him out. He always found a way to get it done in college, and whether he goes to Philadelphia or not, there should be no reason to believe that he won’t get it done at the NFL level.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline