The conventional wisdom among NFL draftniks was that, if the Philadelphia Eagles put themselves in the position record-wise, Chip Kelly, the ex-Oregon head coach, would look to select his former quarterback, Marcus Mariota, in the first round of the 2014 draft.
Mariota blew that theory out of the draft pool Tuesday, announcing he would be returning to the Ducks for at least another season.
A day later, Kelly was asked about Mariota’s decision to eschew the NFL for at least another season at the collegiate level. To Kelly’s credit, he didn’t even remotely go Pissy Pete on the redshirt sophomore, instead lavishing praise on one of the top quarterbacks in the country and a player who could’ve been a top-five pick next April
“Take it from a guy who had a real tough time leaving there – I think it’s a good decision,” the first-year Eagles coach said. “He’s a really special young man. I think everyone in the league will have to wait a couple of years. I love coaching him. He’s exactly what you want in a football player.”
As a redshirt sophomore, Mariota has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Whether he decides to use just one or both, the decision to return for at least 2014 is a boon for the Ducks and their hopes to “rebound” from a two-loss regular season.