Tampa Bay holds the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. But if the Eagles really want Mariota, they might have to trade their way right to the top. Chip Kelly recruited Mariota to Oregon, and word is the coach wants the quarterback to run his spread offense.
The best thing the Bucs can do right now is to put out as many smoke signals as possible indicating that they want Mariota. There already are rumblings the Bucs prefer Florida State’s Jameis Winston over Mariota, but that perception can be changed with a few well-placed rumors that Mariota is in the mix at No. 1.
The Eagles might be thinking they don’t have to trade all the way to No. 1. But if Philadelphia thinks the Bucs are serious about Mariota, the Eagles might have to think about making a deal with the Bucs.
That could provide a nice windfall for Tampa Bay. Based on recent history, the price tag for the No. 1 pick should be something like three first-round picks.
The Bucs would have to think long and hard about that. They need a quarterback, but they might not be enamored with Winston or Mariota. I’m not sure how far away the Bucs are from turning the corner, but they need more than one player.
If they play their cards right, the Bucs could end up getting several quality players and that might provide more instant help than a rookie quarterback.