On the surface, it seems impossible for the Eagles to get from No. 20 into the top five, if they remain interested in reuniting quarterback Marcus Mariota with coach Chip Kelly, the man who recruited Mariota to Oregon.
Three years ago, Washington gave up a total of three first-round picks and a second-round selection move up only four spots to get Robert Griffin III. A move from No. 20 to No. 5 (Washington), No. 4 (Oakland), or No. 3 (Jacksonville) would seemingly require too much.
But the Eagles have something else to add to the mix — something that Washington, Oakland, and Jacksonville won’t want or need: quarterback Sam Bradford.
Unless and until Bradford signs a new contract with the Eagles, he’s vulnerable to be traded again. Despite the public proclamations after Bradford arrived that Kelly is the only “chip” in town, rumors persist that Bradford could be a temporary member of the Eagles.
Meanwhile, the Browns have made it clear that the want Bradford, offering a first-round pick to the Rams for Bradford and reportedly/presumably offering a first-round pick to the Eagles the morning after he was shipped to Philly.
So with the Browns holding the No. 12 and No. 19 selections in the draft and the Eagles holding Bradford’s rights and pick No. 20, how about a trade that would send Bradford to Cleveland, Mariota to the Eagles, and a total of three first-round picks to someone in the top five?
For example: (1) the Browns get Bradford and Philly’s first-round pick in 2016; (2) the Eagles get Mariota; and (3) a team in the top five gets the No. 12, No. 19, and No. 20 pick in 2015.
Alternatively: (1) the Browns get Bradford and No. 20 in 2015 from Philly; (2) the Eagles get Mariota; and (3) a team in the top five gets the No. 12 and No. 19 in 2015, and Philly’s first-round pick in 2016.
Under either scenario, the Eagles may have to give up more to make it happen. Possibly, they may have to absorb Johnny Manziel and the bulk of his rookie contract — which may not be a problem for Philly, given that Kelly also recruited Manziel to attend Oregon. Regardless, it’s possible that, by sending Bradford to the Browns and getting Cleveland to throw the 12th and 19th picks into a three-way deal, Kelly could make the climb for Mariota without mortgaging the future.
In the end, Kelly may be able to pull it off simply by giving up the 20th pick this year, a first-round pick next year, and maybe another pick or two in 2015 or 2016.