Ex-Ducks coach: Chip Kelly wants Mariota but won't sell the farm

With little drama at the top of the draft, the most intriguing storyline heading into Thursday surrounds the draft's other Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota, and just where he will land. It could be Tennessee with the No. 2 pick, or it could be one of a handful of potential suitors trading up to acquire him.

The team most discussed as a candidate to trade up for him? It's probably the Eagles and Mariota's former coach, Chip Kelly, whom many see as a perfect match for Mariota. One former Ducks assistant says he believes Kelly has a plan to acquire Mariota, but wouldn't if the price were too high.

"If there's a way that he can get Marcus Mariota without selling the farm, he's still trying to do that. That's my opinion," Nick Aliotti, a former defensive coordinator at Oregon, told 98.7 FM in Phoenix. "But I don't think (he'd sell the farm). I don't think so. That's tough to lose that many picks and that many bodies."

Mariota is regarded as the top quarterback in the draft by NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock, and NFL.com's mock drafts project him as high as the second pick all the way down to the No. 20 pick, which the Eagles own. Kelly's interest in drafting Mariota has seemingly been a hot topic since the day he became Eagles head coach. As a dual-threat quarterback, Mariota would be a perfect fit for the Eagles' offense and, given his familiarity with Kelly's offense, could possibly start from Day 1 as a rookie.

"I know Chip, and have a lot of respect for Chip," Aliotti said. "He has a plan. What that is, I'm not sure yet, but we'll find out Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I really think if he can get a Marcus Mariota, then he'll be able to do exactly what he wants to do with his offense."

Kelly should count on having plenty of competition for Mariota, with the Browns, Chargers and several others already expressing interest. As always, it will come down to whether the price is right, and in the case of Eagles, it sounds like many who know Kelly believe he has a limit.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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