The 2015 NFL Draft is just over six weeks away, yet the rumors surrounding Oregon Ducks Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota are just getting started. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear set to draft a Heisman quarterback with the No. 1 pick, but it is likely to be Florida State Seminoles embattled signal caller, Jameis Winston. That leaves the Tennessee Titans with the No. 2 pick and, although they could be in the market for a quarterback following the shocking retirement of Jake Locker, many within the organization believe that Zach Mettenberger will be given an opportunity to take over in 2015. That means that many teams will be calling the Titans to gauge their interest in trading the No. 2 overall pick, with Mariota serving as the likely target. With that being said, could the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints or St. Louis Rams trade up with the Titans to draft Mariota with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft?
The answer? In case you haven’t been paying attention to the recent NFL offseason, anything is possible.
The Bears will go into the 2015 NFL season with Jay Cutler as their starting quarterback, but nobody is happy about it. Cutler is not the long-term answer in Chicago, despite what his current contract may tell you. This is likely to be his last season with the Bears, so look for the team to look ahead to the future either in this draft or next year’s offseason.
How about the Bills? Rex Ryan has certainly been stockpiling some offense to pair with an electric defense. Why not move up to select Mariota? Matt Cassel is not the answer, and everyone in Buffalo is fully aware of that fact. Mariota would be an instant upgrade, even as a rookie. It may even be enough to help Buffalo topple the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Staying in the same division, what about Ryan’s former team? The Jets added Brandon Marshall so that Eric Decker could go back to the role for which he is far more suited. Just think what Mariota could do running the offense with those two big wide receivers on the outside.
Although many people within the organization are saying all the right things involving Johnny Manziel, he is not going to be long for Cleveland. Between his deficiencies on the field and immaturity off of it, Manziel is more likely to flame out than ever lead the Browns to the playoffs. He is hardly the kind of player that any team wants as its face. Mariota could immediately fix that image problem going on in Cleveland.
Philip Rivers said he is unsure of his future with the Chargers beyond next season, especially after learning that the team has an uncertain future in San Diego. With a move to Los Angeles possible, the Chargers may need to look for a new franchise quarterback. Trading up to select Mariota would allow the reigning Heisman winner to remain somewhat close to home, all while giving the Chargers a new face of the franchise for years to come.
Despite what Chip Kelly may say, I still see the Eagles as a great landing spot for Mariota, if not the ideal situation for both parties. Kelly knows Mariota. He knows what he can do. He knows his strengths and weaknesses. Mariota loved playing for Kelly and could excel in the Eagles’ offense. This is a perfect match. Why hasn’t this already happened?
I wrote last week that the Saints ought to look into trading Drew Brees. It may not happen before the 2015 NFL Draft. It may not happen prior to or during the upcoming season. But, by some point next offseason, I see it as a distinct possibility. If the Saints decide that they are going to go in another direction, why not complete the transformation by starting over with a player such as Mariota?
Finally, the Rams know what it is to be like on the other side of trading away a high pick to acquire more picks to help rebuild a team. While St. Louis still has a lot of room to improve, Nick Foles may or may not be the man to help right the ship. Of course, there is no guarantee that Mariota is the man either, but he would give the Rams’ fanbase something to look forward to as the team continues to improve a weak offense.
Almost anything could happen as it relates to Mariota and/or the No. 2 pick. The Titans could keep it and draft Mariota. They could keep it and draft another player. Tennessee could deal the pick to a team that drafts Mariota, or moves up to select another player that may be more coveted. Mariota could fall to No. 5 for the Washington Redskins to select. Or, the Redskins could field calls for Mariota and then trade the pick. So many options are on the table and they will all remain there right up until the 2015 NFL Draft begins on April 30.