Would Chip deal multiple picks to land Marcus Mariota?

PHOENIX -- Chip Kelly likes Marcus Mariota.

If for some reason Marcus Mariota falls to Chip Kelly, he'll likely draft him with his first-round pick. Pick No. 20.

"He's off the charts," Kelly said Wednesday at the annual NFC coaches breakfast. "He's off the charts off the field."

But Kelly's philosophy is simple. More players are better than fewer players. Drafting is an inexact science, and coaches need to arm themselves with the best opportunity to hit on a player.

He reminded reporters of Dallas' Herschel Walker deal back in 1989 and had the Saints' Ricky Williams deal brought to his attention.

Kelly, of course, gave himself an out. He said that this is his philosophy, but that in every philosophy there is room to change or make alterations. While this might seem leading, though, it was just an out. Every coach can break philosophy for one reason or another.

He just didn't seem like he was prepared to do it this year.

"Philosophically, I want to keep all of our draft picks," he said. "I think you build your team through the draft. So if you gut yourself for one year and for one guy, philosophically, I don't think that's the right thing to do."

Still, there was this brief exchange with a reporter.

"What's it cost?" he asked. "Give me a number?"

The reporter said two first-round picks, and that he'd be going from No. 20 to No. 6.

"Never gets you there," he said. "It took two first-round picks to go from No. 6 to No. 2 two years ago."

If nothing else, endless speculation surrounding Kelly's pick will fuel interest in the first 10 picks. Somewhere in that area, Mariota should get taken. Kelly just doesn't sound like he thinks he can get there.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the inaugural Veteran Combine and discusses which star players were helped (and hurt) by free agency. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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