The world wasn’t knocked off its axis today when Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota declared for the 2015 NFL draft.
The world already knew that it was a given, much like the weather always sucks in the winter around here.
That decision, a surprise or not, will ramp up the rhetoric among Eagles fans about whether the Birds should trade their first-round pick each of the next 10 years, plus Shady McCoy, to Tampa Bay and move up from the 20th spot in the first round and land the Heisman Trophy winner who cut his Oregon teeth playing for Chip Kelly.
With Kelly newly installed as the personnel guru in Philadelphia and the team’s quarterback situation more shaky than a jackhammer on amphetamines, the speculation undoubtedly will be ingesting more steroids than A-Rod ever did.
Granted, Mariota is a dynamic athlete with excellent top-end speed. He is elite at throwing on the run and has a quick, compact over-the-shoulder release. He has all the physical tangibles – arm strength, mobility and intelligence. Plus he has a great smile and is kind to his mother and cats.
And he obviously knows Kelly’s offensive playbook chapter and verse and has a fast-twitch tempo stitched into his quarterback DNA. You should see how fast the kid brushes his teeth and sorts his socks.
But buyer beware: The kid, like most college spread offense quarterbacks, is a project.
He didn’t have to make NFL-type throws in the Ducks’ scheme. He didn’t take snaps from under center. He primarily only had to make one read. He likely will struggle reading NFL defenses in the beginning. They will seem like a foreign language to him.
And Mariota does struggle at times with his anticipation and accuracy when passing from the pocket — the most important ingredient for an NFL quarterback. That could be a red flag big enough to incite any bull.
And Mariota is prone to putting the ball on the ground. Talk about a big oops.
So even if the Eagles pull off an astonishing coup and move heaven and earth, not to mention a platoon of bodies and picks to pluck Mariota, it’s a long shot that the kid will be an immediate savior.
And it’s hardly a lock that he will become the Messiah after a prolonged baptism of fire.