The Latest Mariota Buzz

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

The Marcus Mariota-to-Philly buzz is only growing louder as we inch closer to the draft.

Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice said earlier in the week that he is becoming increasingly convinced that the Eagles will trade up to the No. 1 spot before the draft. He followed that up with this post today:

Every day, with little things I hear, evidence continues to build that the Eagles are going to make a strong play for Marcus Mariota. To note, this is something I had previously thought to be unrealistic, so as bits of information have trickled in, they’ve been absorbed on my end with skepticism. But it appears the Eagles are determined to get their guy.

As Kempski notes, predicting a successful trade is difficult because of all the variables involved. Namely, the team on the other end has to play along. What would it take to convince the Bucs, for instance, to pass on the opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback? Can they be swayed?

Chip Kelly likes Mariota, no question, and is likely to make a play for him. It’s a matter of whether he can pull it off.

— TM

Gruden high on Mariota

Yesterday, former Eagles offensive coordinator and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden was a guest on Mike & Mike. He offered his thoughts on how successful Mariota could be in the NFL.

“I know this about Mariota, he played really good for [Mark] Helfrich at Oregon without Chip Kelly,” Gruden said. “They averaged over 50 points per game. He’s 6-5, he ran a 4.5, he has suddenness, he has quickness, he’s a quick thinker and I’ve seen him throw the ball in tight windows.”

Unlike most experts, Gruden isn’t worried about Mariota’s pro-readiness, citing his off-the-field work ethic.

“I think, personally, Marcus Mariota can play in any system. Just give him the playbook, put him in the individual drill period and train him. Give him a little time. He’s not a senior. He’s not a fifth-year senior, train the kid, teach the kid and you’ll like what you see fast because he’s going to be relentless in his work ethic. Off the field, he’s special and he’s going to stay after it and he’s got a lot of raw tools to work with.”

Gruden is also a firm believer in Kelly’s offensive philosophy.

“You’re seeing more and more no-huddle offenses. You see a lot of intermediate passes from ten yards and in, which is a big part of Oregon, but when you watch the Eagles offense, when you watch Philadelphia play offense, you see the Oregon Ducks. And I just want to tell you the number one offense over the last two years is Philadelphia.”

Tim McManus and Tucker Bagley contributed to this post.