Heisman winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon said he would like to play for former Ducks coach Chip Kelly again. But before Philadelphia Eagles' fans starting turning handsprings, Mariota also said he would "love" to play for any team that wants him.
In an interview on Oregon's athletic website, Mariota was asked about the NFL. "Obviously my relationship with Coach Kelly (who signed him when he was the Ducks' coach) -- it'd be a lot of fun to be a part of that offense and be a part of that team," Mariota said.
Mariota also said, "Whatever team wants me, I'd love to play for them. ... For me, any team that wants me to be part of their club, I'm all for it. Whatever happens, happens, and I'm looking forward to the process."
Philadelphia picks 20th in the first round, and it seems extremely likely that if the Eagles want Mariota, they will have to move up in order to select him. NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt thinks three teams that pick in the top six and four that pick in the top 10 need a quarterback. In his first mock draft of the year, fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Mariota going sixth, to the New York Jets, a team Brandt said needs a quarterback.
Kelly's offense has been successful in his two seasons in the NFL despite not having a quarterback that fits the mold of what he wants at the position. Neither Nick Foles nor Mark Sanchez, who have made the bulk of the starts the past two seasons, presents a true running threat. Mariota is not seen as being as NFL-ready as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston; presumably, though, his familiarity with Kelly's offense would shorten the NFL learning curve for Mariota if he does end up with the Eagles.
Former Eagles star quarterback Randall Cunningham is high on Mariota -- "I think he's going to do great" -- and says he would like to see Mariota in an Eagles uniform.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.