Philadelphia Eagles Biggest Distraction Nearly Over


The NFL Draft begins in just over 48 hours. One name stands out among the rest. Marcus Mariota.

In addition to being the talk of the NFL Draft, Mariota has also been the biggest distraction to the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that does not now – and may not ever – employ his services. But his link to the Eagles is always an aspect of every move.

So on Thursday, when the Eagles make their selection in the first round, it will finally end the biggest distraction once and for all.

This is not to say that the possibility of Chip Kelly doing something outrageous and continuing this wild offseason by pulling all the string necessary to draft Mariota is impossible. But then, he will be the Eagles business.

It is in this moment, the days leading up to the draft, and the entire offseason, where Mariota and the Eagles have no common ground, other than Kelly’s past. That link means very little if Mariota is taking snaps for another team next season.

It has been a distraction for several reasons.

Wherever Kelly goes, Mariota follows, figuratively speaking.

When Kelly traded LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso and started to revamp the defense in his own way, it was to free cap space so the Eagles could recover in free agency from the price they would have to pay for Mariota.

Every move was defined by how it would lead to the move that landed Mariota with the Eagles, when that possibility was still slim even after all of the other activity.

And when the quarterback who appeared to be the future of the Eagles was traded, that sent the rumor swirling further. Now the Eagles had a need at quarterback. Kelly was all-in. Mariota would be an Eagle one way or another.

Enter Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow and a new contract for Mark Sanchez. The Eagles may have a need at quarterback. They don’t have an opening. Not without pulling more strings first.

If anything, the Eagles will have to address a greater team need – secondary, more specifically safety, and wide receiver are on the list – before taking a flyer on Kelly’s prodigy in Mariota. It’s too much of a risk.

It is also a distraction to the mass of quarterbacks the Eagles already have on the roster. Two of them haven’t even played a game yet. How do you think they feel knowing the vast majority of football fans are talking about the Eagles drafting a quarterback for the future?

And don’t forget the other part of the distraction, the actual scouting reports on Mariota, which also vary. Some think he will turn out to be the next great quarterback in the NFL, but that is very few and far between. Most see him as a gamble and a potential draft bust.

Even after Thursday, the rumors won’t die. There will be sources left and right that will still talk about Kelly’s desire for the Oregon product and the ways he may try to pry him away from the team that drafted him.

But for now, Mariota is dangling in front of all 30 NFL teams as a prospect. Until someone else has him on the roster, any team could make the move necessary to get him if they chose.

But Kelly’s personal connection to Mariota outweighs the rest of the NFL. So naturally, it becomes a bigger factor in the rumor mill.

Two years of speculation and two seasons of Kelly working toward his quarterback will come to an end on Thursday, whether Chip makes the big move for Mariota or does the more admirable and honorable thing, and drafts for a greater team need than quarterback. 

Either way, the biggest distraction to the Eagles offseason will either become an Eagle or join another team, and the speculation will finally be over.

Kevin Durso is a contributing writer and editorial assistant for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.


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