Kiper: Mariota Could Play Instantly With Eagles

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said today that he doesn’t think Marcus Mariota is ready to step in and start as a rookie — unless the Eagles are the team that drafts him.

Kiper held a conference call to discuss the 2015 draft. Not surprisingly, that meant discussing Mariota and Jameis Winston.

“If you have a quarterback in place, and Mariota is good, you’ve got to take the runner aspect out of it and call it mobility,” Kiper said. “He’s got the arm, the size, the character, the intelligence, the work ethic, all the things you need to fit into any offense down the road. But if you want to force-feed him, obviously he is not going to be ready. If Chip Kelly wants to move up and get him for the Eagles, he would be an ideal fit there.

“But you’re going to need a bridge in terms of a quarterback to get to him. You have that at Tampa. You have that at Tennessee. But certainly from a pro-style, NFL-ready standpoint, it would be Winston. There’s some work to be done on him from an intangibles point with all the off-the-field issues he had. So I think it comes down to if Winston checks out between now and late-April on that end and you can reconcile that it’s all behind him and he’s mature and its not going to happen again. Then he goes No. 1.

“Mariota would go second, sixth, somewhere in the top ten, or maybe Philadelphia and Chip Kelly will try to trade up and get him. I don’t think it would preclude you from taking him if you’re one of those teams [that want him to start immediately]. But you know you have to develop him. So if you want him to play right away and be an impactful rookie or second-year guy, you’re probably asking too much of him, unless you’re the Eagles. And if the Eagles move up and get him, he would be NFL-ready there, and we wouldn’t be talking about it if that happened.”

There has been plenty of talk about who the third quarterback taken might be. UCLA’s Brett Hundley? Baylor’s Bryce Petty? It seems to be pretty wide open.

“I think the third quarterback is going to end up being either Brett Hundley or Bryce Petty,  one of those two,” Kiper said. “Sean Mannion from Oregon State maybe could be in the mix, but it will get down to Hundley or Petty and Mannion next in line, depending on his Senior Bowl week which is ongoing right now. That could catapult him up a little bit or even down a little bit, depending on how he performs. So those would be the three guys in that discussion to be the third quarterback off the board.”

Tucker Bagley is a student at Temple University and an intern at Birds 24/7.