Dilfer: Marcus Mariota Could Drop

Kirby Lee / USA Today

Kirby Lee / USA Today

The Eagles hold the 20th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Marcus Mariota is currently projected to go in the top three, and the consensus is that there’s just too much space between team and player to make the Mariota-Chip Kelly reunion a reality.

But what if the divide is not that great after all? In an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic with Jon and Sean, Trent Dilfer suggested that Mariota may very well slide down the draft board as we get closer to April.

“I personally don’t think Marcus is a pro-ready quarterback,” said Dilfer. “I don’t think he’s a guy that can play right away. I think he’s a guy that has to sit for a year or two, learn an NFL system. I think as this process goes on you’re going to see Marcus Mariota’s stock drop a little bit because he is not pro-ready.

“He’s a phenomenal talent. He’s a great kid. But he’s not ready to play in a traditional system. I am not completely from the school of thought that Marcus is going to go in those top two, three, four, five picks. I think there’s a chance he may slide a little bit as this draft goes. And if he gets into the eight, nine, 10, even early teens, there may be an opportunity for Philly to move and get him if they want him that bad. If Chip feels like he has a plan to integrate him into his offense sooner…then I think it’s worth making a play on it.”

What would it take to make such a play? We can at least look to the 2011 draft as a point of reference, when Atlanta moved from the No. 27 spot to No. 6 so they could draft Julio Jones. To acquire that slot from the Browns, they surrendered five picks: a first, a second and a fourth from that draft, as well as a first and a fourth-rounder the following year. Would the price of business be similar this time around? Hard to know for sure. But the probability of a deal getting done theoretically increases the farther Mariota slips.

Todd McShay currently has Mariota going first overall to the Bucs. His partner Mel Kiper, though, thinks Jameis Winston may end up being the first QB taken.

When you factor in the intangibles, it’s easy to rate Mariota ahead of Winston, but there is still plenty of skepticism about whether Mariota would be as good if the system at Oregon wasn’t such a perfect fit for his skill set.

Mariota and Winston just went head-to-head in the Rose Bowl, with the Ducks coming out on top 59-20. Mariota accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one running) and 400 yards of offense. Oregon plays Ohio State in the championship game Monday night.

Dilfer speaks on Winston as well. Click here to listen to the interview.