The Cleveland Browns’ bid for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota may have been a pipe dream all along. That, or their reported interest wasn’t as great as some were led to believe. Regardless of how hard the Browns chased after Mariota, ESPN‘s Adam Schefter recently said that he doesn’t expect the Browns to pull off the trade.
Recent reports have suggested the Tennessee Titans, who hold the second overall pick, may end up keeping Mariota for themselves. Tennessee is reportedly demanding so much in trade dicussions that many teams feel they “want to take Marcus Mariota and be done”.
The Titans taking Mariota may have been the most logical move all along, as all of the Mariota draft rumors have largely centered around the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns – two teams that really have no true control over the situation. Cleveland has been rumored to be interested in upgrading at quarterback all off-season, and it’s unclear whether or not they’re content with Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel competing over the summer. Their supposed interest in Mariota and possibly even Sam Bradford suggests otherwise, but deals to land either player don’t appear likely at this point. That leaves the Eagles, who seem to badly want to bring Mariota in to run Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense.
While we still have time before Thursday night’s NFL Draft, the Titans may not be content with current starter Zach Mettenberger. If that’s the case, standing pat and getting a true franchise quarterback in Mariota may be the way to go. Of course, we also need to consider all of the Philip Rivers chatter, which has recently died down but was once dominating the NFL Draft rumor mill.
For now, though, it looks like everything was a string of smokescreens, or the Titans were simply seeing how high of a price they could get other team’s to offer. Whether or not they ever actually intended on trading down from the two spot, of course, is anyone’s guess.
With the Browns unlikely to acquire Mariota, the Oregon product will likely either go to Tennessee or somehow to Philadelphia. That puts the Browns in contention for Baylor’s Bryce Petter if he can last two round two, or even UCLA’s Brett Hundley. That, or the team could like what they’ve seen out of a seemingly changed Manziel. Stay tuned.