Eagles Wake Up Call: What If Winston Drops?


Jayne Kamin / Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin / Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

Today’s question comes from Ken by way of email:

We all assume that the Jameis Winston will be drafted by the Bucs, and that the Eagles may be in the mix for Marcus Mariota, particularly if he starts to slip.  But what if the opposite happens?  What if the Bucs select Mariota?  Do you think the Eagles would have any interest in Winston, even if starts falling? Would he be a good fit for the team or the system, or would his character concerns make him a bad fit with Chip Kelly?

After listening to Bucs general manager Jason Licht‘s press conference Monday, I walked thinking Jameis Winston is still their guy.

“Going back all the way to Indy, we said we had a leader in the clubhouse — we still do. If we had to pick today, we’d feel very comfortable making the pick,” he said. “We’ll use the allotted time, but everybody in the organization feels very comfortable right now where we’re at.”

On the vetting process and the recent lawsuit against Winston: “We’re very confident in the work that we’ve done. Maybe 25 years from now I’ll write a book. But we feel very confident in the amount of work we’ve done internally, we’ve had work done externally, third parties, on and on and on. There have been no surprises.

“The Glazer family, the head coach, the general manager, our staffs, we couldn’t feel more comfortable about the process that we’ve gone through so far.”

I’m thinking Winston at No. 1. But let’s allow for a moment the possibility that Marcus Mariota is in fact the “leader in the clubhouse” that Licht speaks of. Just how far might Winston slide?

“I think he has a major drop,” said Adam Caplan during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic.

His reasoning is tied to the fact that there are only four or five teams in the top 15 that could be in play for a quarterback, including the Browns and Jets. Washington and St. Louis are possibilities, but with RGIII and Nick Foles in place, it’s unclear just how aggressively they’ll pursue another QB. If Tennessee decides to ride with Zach Mettenberger, it’s at least conceivable that Winston starts to slide. If he does, have the teams further down in the draft done enough homework on Winston to feel comfortable selecting him? If they have done their homework, are they OK with what they found? The fact that he has some question marks in his past could theoretically push him down the board further.

Would the Eagles consider drafting him? Much would ride on what they discovered during their digging, but I’d imagine so. Chip Kelly sounded pretty high on Winston when he spoke about him at the owners meetings. The value might be too good to pass on, even if there is some risk involved.

“I think there’s two really good ones,” said Kelly of the quarterback class. “Two really good ones. Jameis is really good. Do I like Jameis more? I don’t know Jameis as well. Jameis is a really good quarterback, a really good quarterback. His name will go very quickly, I imagine.”

Kelly is probably right. While there is an outside chance one of them falls, the fact remains that Mariota and Winston are considered the cream of this quarterback crop. Given the importance of the position and the rarity of the commodity, they’ll likely get scooped up before very long. If he wants one of them, he’ll probably have to make a big move. Should Winston goes No. 1, does it remain a possibility that Kelly will try to swoop into position to snare Mariota?

“Count me in the camp that does still consider that to be an option and a possibility,” Adam Schefter told Anthony Gargano Monday. “I was not in that camp a month ago, but I’ve come over to that side.”

Only nine days until we get to see how it all unfolds.

WHAT YOU MISSED

An in-depth look at the talent and potential of Miami WR Phillip Dorsett.

Evan Mathis was not in attendance for the beginning of the Eagles offseason program.

Rumors and notes regarding quarterbacks and potential first round targets in yesterday’s draft buzz thread.

A roundup of reactions to the Eagles signing another Hiesman-winning quarterback.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Jeff McLane of the Inquirer on the absence of Mychal Kendricks and Chris Polk at the start of offseason training:

Kendricks’ absence, nonetheless, was a surprise. He had a scheduled trip to Costa Rica, per a source close to the situation, and plans to eventually attend workouts. But the timing of his vacation was conspicuous.

The linebacker has also been mentioned in trade rumors, but they may not have as much weight as the Mathis reports. The Eagles traded for Kiko Alonso and extended DeMeco Ryans this offseason, giving them three starting-caliber inside linebackers along with Kendricks. Coach Chip Kelly has said that he wanted to improve the depth at the position…

The Eagles tendered Polk, a restricted free agent, last month, but the running back has yet to sign the offer sheet which would pay him $1.6 million next season. He, too, could be seeking a trade.

Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice compares the Eagles current roster to the one Kelly took over in 2013:

Since Chip Kelly took over as head coach, the roster looks a lot different, but the Eagles will be heading into the draft with roughly the same number of holes as they had in his first offseason with the team. Obviously, there is still plenty of offseason left, but as the roster currently stands, on the whole it feels a lot like the Eagles have moved sideways from April 2013 to April of 2015, with the exception of special teams.

COMING UP

We’ve hit single digits. Nine days until the draft. The NFL schedule gets released at 8 p.m. tonight.


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