Pre Draft (Pre Mariota?)

Some over-excited fans and analysts liken draft morning to Christmas morning. I must have read it twenty times today.  It doesn’t hold that appeal for me. It makes me nervous. Being a long-time Eagles fan is a difficult proposition. You can hope and pray things go your way, but most likely, it won’t. Somehow, though, you try to convince yourself that this is the year, and the future starts now.
Thanksgiving day is a classic example. The Eagles smoked the Cowboys in Dallas in their showcase game, took a stranglehold of the division, and seemingly left their competitors in the dust. The Birds promptly got beaten by Seattle and Dallas in quick succession, all but ending their season.
4 months later? ”This is the year,” “I can feel it,” etc, etc. Holding on to that optimism is all we have.
This draft has plenty of reasons for optimism. For one, the Eagles can address their horrendous secondary. Or maybe they can replace Todd Herramans or Jeremy Maclin at a G or WR. Perhaps they go out of the box, and draft the fabled “Best Available Player,” which never seems to work out. But maybe, just maybe…
They trade their first round picks from this year and next, the Brown’s first round pick by way of Sam Bradford, and a combination of veteran talent (Fletcher Cox {Please no}, Mycheal Kendricks, Vinny Curry) and swing a trade with the Tennessee Titans for the opportunity to select a certain Hawaiian kid who won some silverware over the winter.  This is the single most intriguing aspect of the draft, regardless of team: will the Eagles get to #2 to draft Marcus Mariota?
Two months ago, I’d have told you you were insane, that it would take too much to get from 20 to 2. One month ago, I’d have told you it was a dream deferred, based on the fact they traded too many picks to the Rams to get Sam Bradford. Yet the same draftniks, pundits and “sources” who told the general public point blank there was no way it could happen are suddenly changing their tune. The Eagles are, as of 7:20 PM on draft night, the odds on favorite to select the former Oregon QB. The Bears have emerged as a dark horse in the race, and the Browns have seemingly dropped out (balking at the prices).  This is changing by the minute.
Who am I kidding? This is Christmas morning. Get hyped. This is the most excitement you get as a football fan until September.
——
Some other draft notes:

-Winston is all but confirmed to go first. But it would be tragically hilarious if the Bucs pulled a fast one and drafted Mariota. Much ado about nothing, then.

-If the Birds stay put at 20, there’s a couple names I like: Byron Jones, DB, UConn,  and Eric Rowe, DB, Utah, being first on the list. These guys will most likely still be on the board, and they fit most of Chip’s qualifications: Versatile, hard working, character guys who fit a need. The Eagles desperately need safety and corner help. I wouldn’t be upset if they went guard or WR instead.

-Where will Todd Gurley land? He’s a generational talent at RB, but has injury problems. Not only that, the value of RBs has fallen off a cliff. Drafting a running back in the first round has fallen out of favor, as the back-by-committee philosophy has become pervasive. He could go anywhere from the Jags at a 3 to falling out of the first round. If any team gets to draft him t the back end of the first, they’re getting a steal. The kid is unbelievable.
——

Much more draft related stuff later. And yes, I’m aware they probably won’t get Mariota. It’s nice to dream, though.

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