As I sit and write this post, my mind couldn’t help but wander. Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta is out there, waiting to be picked by an NFL team and his championship game performance notwithstanding, he looks to be a fairly high draft choice. The main reason most, if not all teams pick at the top of the draft, is that they need a quarterback.
Now, you could point to the Jets here, and say “Well, they had both Geno Smith and Michael Vick”. But, the old adage proves true in this situation: If you have two quarterbacks, you really don’t have one. Tennessee would certainly make for a nice fit, since they are desperate for quarterback help. From there, it becomes a bit dicey, as many of the other teams in line have their franchise quarterback in place.
What shouldn’t be dicey is this: The Eagles should NOT mortgage the future by trading up with anyone in an effort to get Mariotta. Yes, I know, the two worked well together at Oregon. Yes, I know Mariotta is a Heisman Trophy winner. But, quickly: name me a Heisman winner of any recent time, at quarterback, who has had a real impact on the NFL. Go ahead…..I’ll wait.
Let’s go back 30 years in the Heisman Trophy, all the way back to 1984. Since that time, 20 different quarterbacks have heard their name called as the Heisman Trophy winner. Yet, on Draft Day, some of them never heard their name called. One never made it to the NFL Draft (Charlie Ward, FSU, 1993). He went to the NBA. Some are still developing (Newton, 2010). Two have not been able to stay healthy enough to stay on the field (Griffin III, 2011 and Bradford 2008). One couldn’t make it to the starting spot on lousy teams (Leinart 2004). One can at least point to a playoff win (Tebow 2007), yet teams still shied away from him because he just didn’t fit their mold. The only one of the 20 with any real contribution to the league would be Carson Palmer, 2002’s winner. And lately, even he is having a tough time staying on the field. So just because a quarterback wins the big college football award is no guarantee he’ll be successful in the NFL.
Want more proof? Go back earlier this season, and look at the stinker of a start turned in by 2012 winner Johnny Manziel. 10-18, 80 yds, 2 INT’s in a 30-0 loss to CIN. The Bengals came at him from all sides, and Manziel learned, the hard way, what my brother and I said all along after he was drafted: In college, a few guys can run 4.4 40 times, but, in the NFL, everyone can run. Manziel’s speed was neutralized, and he looked, well, average.
So, don’t come to me with the Eagles should trade whatever it takes to get Mariotta. Let’s look at how that has worked out for teams. When RB Ricky Williams came out of Texas, as a Heisman winner, he was the hottest commodity going. He was so hot, the New Orleans Saints, and Mike Ditka, traded their entire Draft to get him, and then some. It ended up being the Saints 1, 3,4,5,6,7 picks in 1999, and their 1 and 3 in 2000. They then proceeded to record a 15-33 record. The Redskins, in 2012, fell in love with RGIII. The Rams had the pick, and, as Chi McBride said in the movie “Draft Day”, Fleece him!! The Redskins gave up #1 picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014, as well as a #2 in 2012. Steep, indeed. And, what did it get them? So far, it’s gotten them a malcontent at quarterback, who cannot seem to get along with a coach that is critical of him. Yes, they won their division in 2012, but since then, RGIII can’t stay healthy, either. Everyone has film, and it appears that Griffin’s on-the-field heroics might be just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
Stand pat with the No. 20 overall pick, Eagles. Build the team. If you have to go and get a quarterback, then go the free agent route. Better yet, save that money, keep Nick Foles, and work to re-sign WR Jeremy Maclin, and get some defensive backs who can cover, and aren’t afraid to hit someone. Trading up for what might just be so much magic beans could set this team back 5-10 years. Standing pat, and not falling in love with the fancy showroom floor model could pay off and be a wise investment.