Ever since the season ended for the Philadelphia Eagles in December, the topic has been there. You’ve seen it. You’ve pondered it. You might have even rolled your eyes at it.
Update: Check out our NFL Draft 2015 preview.
Should the Eagles try and trade up in the draft to select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota?
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly recruited Mariota to Oregon and praised him for his accuracy and mental acumen. Kelly already has eight of his former players with him in Philadelphia and seems to have control of the team’s roster.
Whatever team drafts Mariota will have to cater their offense to his abilities. If that doesn’t happen, it’s almost a wasted pick. Of course, no one is better equipped to put Mariota in a place to succeed than Kelly.
As the mock draft below shows, the highest Philadelphia would need to rise is to the No. 2 pick, belonging to the Tennessee Titans. Dropping that far in the first round is dangerous, but it makes some sense for the Titans. They have a roster thin on talent and could add several building blocks in a deep draft.
2015 NFL Combine
8 key storylines to know
How will Jameis Winston respond to tough questions? Will we get any indication if he or Marcus Mariota is the pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 1? Whose draft stock will change? We'll hopefully get some of those answers in Indianapolis this week.
2015 NFL Combine
To project this trade, we have to get an understanding of similar blockbuster deals. The last time a team traded its entire draft (and more) for a single player was the New Orleans Saints in 1999. Head coach Mike Ditka coveted running back Ricky Williams and sent Washington first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh-round picks in 1999 and picks in the first and third rounds in 2000. New Orleans got their guy in Williams. Washington could have done more with their stock of picks, but decided to trade five of them to Chicago to draft cornerback Champ Bailey. The only thing that saved Washington from completely screwing this up was New Orleans being terrible the next season, which got Washington the No. 2 pick. In the end, Washington basically got Bailey and linebacker LaVar Arrington. Bailey was good, sure, but he only played for five seasons in Washington. Arrington was in Washington for just four seasons. Really, we all lost here.
Then there is the mythical Herschel Walker trade between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota sent five players, three first- and second-round picks and one third- and sixth-round pick. Minnesota got Walker, two third-round picks, a fifth-round pick and a 10th-round pick. Dallas built a dynasty with that collection of picks and Walker played just three seasons for the Vikings. The trade is so infamous there’s a dang Wikipedia page for it.
The most famous and recent blockbuster trade again involved Washington. They sent three first-round picks and a second-round pick to St. Louis to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Rams turned that pick into eight players, among them starters like Alec Ogletree, Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins on defense and last year’s No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson. It’s still too early to call a winner, especially with the way the Rams have remained mediocre, but they turned the pick into several starters. For the Titans, that would be the goal. How about this for the fake trade itself? Philadelphia gets the No. 2 overall pick and takes Mariota.
Tennessee gets Philadelphia’s entire draft and a first-round pick in 2016. That brings it fairly close to what Washington got from New Orleans in the Williams trade. That would give Tennessee 14 picks this year. Those can be used to draft straight-up or position themselves to take the players they covet.
It’s a nonsensical scenario, sure, but not unprecedented.
Why stop with just one trade? Last year’s draft featured five trades on draft weekend. This mock draft only has three.
SB Nation presents: What happens when the Eagles trade their entire draft for Mariota
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
It’s still impossible to find a consensus on what the Buccaneers will do with this pick. There have been early indicators both ways on Winston and Marcus Mariota. Maybe the combine will provide some clarity about the direction the Buccaneers lean. Okay, probably not. The debate about the two is going to endure.
TRADE 2. Philadelphia Eagles (via Tennessee): Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Eagles trading up and the Titans trading down is either the best idea or the worst. There is nothing in between. He could catapult the Eagles to the next level or torpedo the franchise if he fails.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Williams, DT, Southern California
Nebraska’s Randy Gregory has often been the choice for Jacksonville in these mock drafts, but he’s not purely a slam dunk choice. Williams fits in Jacksonville’s front four. At the worst, he can play inside if Sen'Derrick Marks is slow to come back from his torn ACL. Williams has the skill set to work as the team’s left defensive end.
4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
If Williams is gone when Oakland picks, the Raiders should go after a wide receiver with the fourth overall selection. Cooper has few flaws as a receiver. In a couple areas -- namely getting yards after the catch and working underneath routes -- he can be special. He’s not a consensus top-five pick, but could be a necessity for a team like the Raiders.
5. Washington: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
Should Gregory "fall" in the draft, Washington would be smart to snap him up with the fifth overall pick. He has the athleticism to work in space and get after the quarterback. Playing wide on the outside would also mask some of Gregory’s strength issues.
6. New York Jets: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
We’re in another scenario where a quarterback doesn’t fall to the Jets and they’re left to take a pass rusher. They’ll certainly have their pick at No. 6 with players like Beasley, Bud Dupree of Kentucky and Dante Fowler of Florida. Of those three, Beasley fits best as a linebacker.
7. Chicago Bears: Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky
Some might say seventh overall is a little bit high for Dupree. If he has a good combine this week, they won’t. Dupree is a highly athletic rush end but he’s not restricted to rushing the passer. He’s quick to read the run and has strength to get off blocks.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
New Falcons head coach Dan Quinn may have helped recruit Fowler to Florida, but that’s not why this pick is being made. Fowler can line up in a variety of positions and be successful.
9. New York Giants: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
The Giants’ pick is one of the harder ones to be comfortable about. It would make some sense to bring in a player like Collins. He would give the team a lineman who can play inside or out, allowing them to slot the other offensive linemen on the roster into their best fits. Conversely, considering the talent of this year’s class being at wide receiver and pass rusher, New York could go that direction as well.
TRADE 10. Cleveland Browns (via St. Louis): DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
The Browns have never been hesitant to trade away a middle-round pick to move up a spot or two in the draft. Here, Cleveland would be giving up just a fourth-round pick to move up two spots. They might want to make a move like this to get the wide receiver they prefer. In this case, it’s Parker, a player who can do many of the same things Josh Gordon did for the team (on the field).
11. Minnesota Vikings: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
White improved his draft stock more than any other player last season. He emerged from out of nowhere and some consider him the top wide receiver in the draft. For the Vikings, he can go up and compete for the ball and give Teddy Bridgewater a reliable target outside.
TRADE 12. St. Louis Rams (via Cleveland): Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
While there is some risk for the Rams in dropping down two spots, they’ll still be able to find an offensive tackle here while adding an extra pick later in the draft. As it worked out in this mock, they’d be getting the same player at 12 as they would at 10.
13. New Orleans Saints: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri
There is some projection in moving Ray to a 3-4 defense. He played as traditional of a 4-3 at Missouri as you can imagine. Ideally, as a linebacker, he would often play at or near the line of scrimmage and use his speed to create havoc.
14. Miami Dolphins: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Shelton may have the look and build of a 3-4 nose tackle, but he’s capable of fitting on a 4-3 team. Shelton routinely got in the backfield for the Huskies, finishing the season with nine sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss last season. He also recovered five fumbles, the most in the nation.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
If the top three wide receivers are gone when San Francisco is up to pick, a player like Armstead is a good option. He’s a physically imposing defensive lineman who can set the edge and give San Francisco’s linebackers space to make plays.
SB Nation presents: NFC West team needs in the 2015 NFL Draft
16. Houston Texans: Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
Although Thompson has said he wants to be a strongside linebacker on the outside, he would fit inside in a 3-4. In coverage he's like a safety, but he has the strength to make plays getting up the field.
17. San Diego Chargers: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
This pick has been consistently the same in the past few mock drafts. At the combine, we should find out more if the Chargers do intend to move right tackle D.J. Fluker to guard. If so, this pick becomes even more likely.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
If the Chiefs take an offensive tackle in the first round, it’s not necessarily a sign that they’re giving up on Eric Fisher. Flowers is the type of blocker who should fit on either side of the line. He is a strong run blocker and could start his career on the right side.
19. Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo): Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Brown wouldn’t just be a replacement for free agent Ahtyba Rubin, he would be an upgrade. Brown is an active and athletic defensive tackle who knows how to handle blocks and get into the backfield.
TRADE 20. Tennessee Titans (via Philadelphia): Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
Without question, there is an incredible risk moving down 18 spots in the first round. But it can be argued the Titans’ biggest need is fixing a defense that finished 31st in the league in run defense. Even by dropping back this far, the Titans should be able to find a good defensive lineman to help up front. Goldman has the size and strength to occupy multiple blockers, but enough quickness to be lined up at end in a three-man front.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
Even if the Bengals keep Domata Peko, he only has one more year on his contract. In that scenario, the Bengals could look for a high-upside player like Phillips with this pick.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
The Steelers only have three cornerbacks under contract on the roster next season, and arguably none is as good as Waynes. He’s a press specialist who excels when he can get physical with wide receivers.
23. Detroit Lions: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
If Peters didn’t have any character concerns, he would without question be considered the best cornerback in the draft and a top-10 pick. As it is, some team like the Lions could be the benefactor if he slides int the draft.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
Kendrick could be a valuable asset for the Cardinals. He could let the team move on from Daryl Washington and give them a linebacker who can cover and come up against the run.
25. Carolina Panthers: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Why do the Panthers always get an offensive tackle in mock drafts? It’s because starters Nate Chandler and Byron Bell rank in the bottom of the NFL’s starters at the position, according to Pro Football Focus. They don’t exactly have talent waiting, either. So Peat, who is the best player at the position left, could be brought in to protect Cam Newton’s blind side.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Torrey Smith can leave Baltimore in free agency and Steve Smith is near the end of his career. Strong is the type of vertical receiver Joe Flacco would love.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
If Dallas lets DeMarco Murray go in free agency, the Cowboys are left with Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. Neither profiles as a lead running back like Gordon would.
28. Denver Broncos: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
The Broncos should try to bring back Julius Thomas, but if he is lost tight end should be high on Denver’s list of needs. Williams is the best one in the draft and would let the offense operate without missing much.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
If Indianapolis isn’t comfortable going after a player along the offensive line and they don’t like edge players available, a big body up front will help the defense. Davis can do enough as pass rusher to play the end spot but he’s clearly strong enough to hold the edge against the run.
TRADE: 30. Tennessee Titans (via Green Bay): Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
The trade would be Tennessee sending Nos. 33 and 66 to Green Bay to move to No. 30. This is similar to what the Vikings gave up to get Teddy Bridgewater last year. There is much less risk in taking Hundley at No. 30 than taking Mariota at No. 2. Tennessee still has a stockpile of picks to reload the roster and a quarterback that could be groomed into a Ryan Tannehill-type player.
SB Nation presents: Scouting the best quarterbacks in the draft including Brett Hundley
31. Seattle Seahawks: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
Seattle may have used a second-round pick on Paul Richardson last year, but he’ll be coming off a torn ACL. Green-Beckham would give Seattle potentially a true No. 1 wide receiver and an explosive big-play threat.
32. New England Patriots: A.J. Cann, G, South Carolina
Interior offensive line is the biggest need for the Patriots this offseason. Adding a player like Cann, the draft’s top pure guard, gives them a good player to pair with second-year center Bryan Stork.