Following the Philadelphia Eagles humiliating 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has a ton of unanswered questions starring him directly in the face.
Who is the quarterback of Philadelphia’s future and is that player even on the current roster? What happened to the run game and the league’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy who gained only 55 yards on 18 attempts (3.1 average) against a so-so run defense.
And despite showing signs of improvement, holding the No. 2 ranked offense to just 17 points, there are areas that could surely use an upgrade on that side of the ball as well.
We are only approaching the half-way mark of the 2013 season but already it’s clear where the Eagles focus should be. And when it comes time for the draft there are two familiar faces at Oregon who are both ranked within the top two at their respective positions. Both just so happen to man two key areas Chip Kelly needs to pay close attention to over the next nine weeks.
But getting either one of these players would mean the Eagles 2013 season is a dud, or they would need to move up the draft to acquire either player.
Marcus Mariota (6-4, 212) started all 13 games, was named honorable mentioned All-America and was the first freshman quarterback in 23 years to earn first-team all-Pac-12 honors. He is a dual-threat possessing both arm strength and accuracy as well as his mobility evident by his 4.52 40-yard time. Mariota stepped in as a redshirt freshmen in 2012 after Darren Thomas left Oregon a year early. And this week, Mariota took over the top spot for the Heisman-Trophy watch per NFL.com‘s rankings.
Mariota’s 2013 numbers are very impressive. He is averaging 293.0 passing yards, 70.4 rushing yards per game. Mariota has 28 total touchdowns (19 passing/9 rushing) on the season versus zero interceptions. He has a 62.4 completion percentage throughout the season.
Some don’t value Mariota’s skillset due to the offensive scheme he runs. However, he does project well at the next level because he is a confident passer and can make all the throws needed. But if there was just one team Mariota would be able to excel in the Philadelphia Eagles would certainly be that team.
Mariota is the top ranked player at the QB position per CBSSports rankings. That would likely mean the Eagles season would have to tank completely from here on out or Chip Kelly would need to move up in the draft if the Eagles start winning some games.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – CB - Oregon
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (5-10, 190) is ranked No. 1 at the cornerback position by CSB Sports and No. 13 overall. If Chip Kelly wants to utilize the Eagles 2014 first-round pick on a defensive player, the Oregon Duck junior should be in top contention to land in Philly.
Ekpre-Olomu is a versatile player and has big-hit potential evident by his six forced fumbles in 2012. He has experience at both the cornerback and safety position.
There is no question that the Eagles defense is improving from week to week. Yet they still rank 31st against the pass throughout seven regular season games.
(2013 excerpt from goducks.com) “The primary cornerback for all six games, the defensive secondary is on watch for the Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Jim Thorpe Award this season . . . Posted seven takedowns vs. Washington, including four solo tackles and a tackle-for-loss of two yards after leading the team with a season-high six solo stops (eight total), where he recorded one tackle-for-loss of three yards . . . Intercepted his first pass of the season and fifth of his career in addition to recording eight stops, including four solo takedowns vs. Cal . . . Had three solo and two assisted stops against Virginia . . . Ranked third in tackles (six), including two solo takedowns, during the season-opening win against Nicholls.”
We’re still a long way from the end of the 2013 NFL season and believe it or not if the draft were today the Eagles would be selecting right around pick No. 14. Below are the teams with the same record or worse record than the Eagles at this point in the season.
3-4 record: Baltimore Ravens, St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, and Tennessee Titans all share the same 3-4 record as Philadelphia.
2-4 record: Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans
1-4 record: Minnesota Vikings
0-6 record: New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
0-7 record: Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s crazy, but at 3-4 no team is out of any race just yet!