The San Diego Chargers are rumored to be making a play for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, a move that would require a blockbuster trade and would likely mean the end of Philip Rivers in San Diego.
This week, the Chargers brought in the Oregon quarterback for a workout. While some think the move is simply the team doing its due diligence on all the best available players, there are rumors that the team could be preparing to make a big move to the top of the draft.
As the Fansided blog, Bolt Beat, noted, the workout could point to a big move from the San Diego Chargers.
“Mariota is not expected to be available when the Chargers make their selection in the draft. If the team wants to get him, they would have to move up the draft board to make that selection. Something doesn’t seem to make sense. Teams are limited in the number of private workouts that they can have with prospects and the Chargers are using one of there workouts on Mariota.”
The report notes that there could be a good reason to make a move for Mariota. Philip Rivers will be a free agent at the end of the season, and there are no guarantees that he remains in San Diego. With the NFL now an almost entirely quarterback-driven league, the Chargers’ front office may view it as a worthwhile proposition to send whatever top draft picks or players it takes to draft Mariota and ensure a title-contending team after Rivers leaves.
The San Diego Chargers may not have to move all the way to the top of the draft. Reports indicate that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who hold the No. 1 pick this year, are planning on taking Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
But that doesn’t mean the Chargers will be without competition. Reports indicate that a handful of teams are very interested in the Oregon quarterback, including the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns even went so far as to hire Kevin O’Connell as their next quarterback coach. O’Connell has been working independently with Mariota, giving the Browns an inside track and exploiting a loophole that allows them to be in contact with him.
The gambit isn’t looked on too highly by other teams.
“So let me get this straight,” a high-level executive with another team told Pro Football Talk. “The Browns can have their quarterbacks coach in waiting work with a player, teach him the entire offense, etc., but we can’t even talk to any potential draft pick until the Combine per league rules? Something is wrong here.”
If the rumors regarding the San Diego Chargers and Marcus Mariota are true, then the Chargers could have more teams to compete with than just the Browns. Separate reports indicate that Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles are high on Mariota, though that may be less likely now that the Eagles traded for Sam Bradford.
[Image via Getty]