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Scouting The Draft: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

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It's time to take a look at a prospect who is regarded by most to be the2nd best QB in the draft.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

Marcus Mariota has been regarded as top NFL prospect since his freshman year. Both Mariota and Winston have sort of taken over the arms race from Luck and RG3. It should be noted that neither Winston nor Mariota even come close to being the type of prospects Luck and Griffin were. Unlike Winston, Mariota is one of the most even keeled guys you can find in the draft. I think a lot of that has to do with his background.

Marcus was a 3 star recruit out of Hawaii. It's hard to be anything but even keeled in a place like Hawaii. He was rated the number 12 QB in the nation, and led his school to a state title. At the National Underclassman Combine, Marcus was awarded the honor of being the MVP of QBs. Mariota was also timed with a 4.48 40. You would think with all this success, Mariota would be highly recruited. You would be wrong. Oregon was the only school to offer Mariota a scholarship. What? Yep. Hawaii might be beautiful, and full of football talent, but it's probably a pain to get out there to do any regular recruiting.

Oregon made the effort to send their scouts out to see Marcus, and they were paid back 10 fold in doing so. Marcus played, and started all 13 games in his first year as a Duck. Marcus became the first freshman to win all-league honors in 23 years. In his second year, Mariota started to work on being a passer first, and a rusher 2nd. This wouldn't really show dividends until his senior year. It was this year that Marcus became the first Oregon Duck to win the Heisman Trophy. It was a more than fitting reward for the most decorated Oregon player ever.

Measurables

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 219

Class: Junior

Projected 40 Time: 4.45

Stats

Year Comp% Yards Yards/G TD INT Rush Yards Rush TD
2014 68.3 4454 296.9 42 4 770 15
2013 63.5 3665 281.5 31 5 715 9
2012 68.5 2677 205.9 32 6 752 5

Positives

  • Has leadership skills to lead a team
  • Has great size for the position
  • Great character
  • Elite athleticism to extend plays
  • Has the arm strength to get the ball to the outside and down the field
  • Shows the ability to read defenses well
  • Doesn't get rattled if things go wrong early
  • Above AVG accuracy
  • Quick, compact throwing motion
  • High release point

Negatives

  • Needs to work on his ball placement on intermediate and deep passes.
  • Needs more patience in the pocket
  • Isn't as efficient when his 1st read is covered
  • Primarily runs out of the Ducks version of a spread offense
  • Relies on his athleticism too much
  • Even though he is accurate, they are mostly high % passes
  • Needs to show he can drop back

Conclusion

Mariota is an intriguing prospect. He has a very high ceiling, and the character to be a great leader. When you factor in how immature Winston is off the field, it could mean Mariota is the safer QB pick this year. If he doesn't get picked before Winston, it's because Tampa or the Titans see Mariota is a bit of a project. I would agree with them. Marcus could be a great QB one day, but I don't think that day is today. This is where my problem lies with Mariota. At pick number 6, it is my opinion that the Jets shouldn't be drafting a QB that probably shouldn't start right away. The fact that it is such a bad draft for QBs, has inflated his stock to me. We need a QB, but I would be willing to wait for a better class, and using this year to build a team for that future QB. If he is there at 6, I would try and explore all trade options available. If there are none, I wouldn't be angry if we drafted him, but I would still love to go in a different direction.

Draft Grade: 90

90-100 = Exceptional Talent

80-90 = Impact Player

70-80 = NFL Starter

60-70 = Solid NFL Potential

50-60 = Draftable - Lot of work needed

>50 = Undraftable, - Long Shot To Stick