It's hard not to get caught up in the World of Jon Gruden, his enthusiasm is infectious. I have a lot of time for Gruden, and when he speaks I usually listen very carefully to what he has to say. Of course he's not always right, and he's almost always positive whenever you ask him about a prospect. He was recently asked by ESPN to write about his favourite prospects in the draft, and sitting right at the top was Marcus Mariota, here is what he had to say:
I don't understand why he isn't the No. 1 player in this draft on Mel Kiper's Big Board. I don't know anybody in this draft that can do for a football team what Mariota can do. He can read the field. That whole thing about Oregon being a no-huddle, dive-option team, that is just a narrative resulting from a lack of information. The Ducks run a lot of pro-style concepts. Mariota does a lot with the protections. I've seen him throw the ball with touch and timing in tight windows.
Mariota is the same size as Jameis Winston. He runs 4.52 40, he is incredibly elusive, and man, is he a playmaker and a great competitor. I see him functioning in the pocket, out of the pocket, and if you want to run a zone-read, he'll rip the defense apart. He is like Russell Wilson, only he is 6-4.
Now you know I love Mariota myself. At the start of the process I had him in front of Winston by a hair and at the end of the process I had him behind Winston by a hair. However if we were to draft him, I would still be absolutely thrilled.
At the start of the process I said that Oregon ran some pro-style formations and that I had seem Mariota throw with touch. The argument against Mariota is that he played in a simple offense where he was never asked to throw into tight windows. I disagreed with that at the time and I still do. He didn't play in an offense that was as pro orientated as Florida State's but he was still asked to do enough to make you feel reasonably comfortable.
I don't think he'll be a Jet. He'll either be a Titan or someone will move up for him. I] still firmly believe he'll be one hell of a QB at the next level.