2015 NFL Draft Profile: QB Marcus Mariota
Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterbackMarcus Mariota
(8) looks to pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Ohio State Buckeyes defeated Oregon Ducks 42-20. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
This afternoon, we are going to focus our attention back on the NFL Draft. Specifically, we are looking at a guy that causes great debate. The world still believes that the Jets are going to bring in a young quarterback to add to the mix. Could that guy be Marcus Mariota? It’s not impossible that the Jets will have the chance with the number six draft pick.
Chip Kelly has said that his master plan is not to trade up and take Mariota. There is plenty of room to debate whether or not Kelly is telling the truth about his former Oregon signal caller. But, for purposes of this article, we are going to say that he is. It is possible that Marcus Mariota will be available on draft night when the Jets go on the clock with the sixth pick.
So let’s talk about the quarterback that many people want to talk about, Marcus Mariota.
Next: College Statistics
Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws a touchdown pass to wide receiverKeanon Lowe
(not pictured) in the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
As always, let’s start with Mariota’s statistics while at Oregon:
Because it is so important to his game, here are Mariota’s rushing statistics:
Rushing & Receiving
There is no denying that Mariota posted terrific stats while in college. I mean, 105 touchdowns versus 14 interceptions is a scary number. He also completed 66.8% of his passes, which is about as high as you will ever see. Mariota also used his legs as well as anyone, to the tune of 15 touchdowns and 770 rushing yards last year.
On paper, Marcus Mariota is a major threat on more than one level.
Next: NFL Combine
Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon Duck quarterback Marcus Mariota runs the 40 yard dash during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Mariota posted a fabulous performance at the NFL Combine, leading the position in all of the major drills. Some of the results included running the Forty Yard Dash in 4.52 seconds, the Three Cone Drill in 6.87 seconds, and an explosive Broad Jump of 121 inches.
Mariota stands at 6’4″ tall, admittedly a great height for an NFL quarterback. Mariota weighed in at 222 pounds.
Here his analysis from the NFL.com profile:
STRENGTHS: Quick-twitch quarterback. Rare straight-line speed for the position. Defenses must account for ability outside the pocket. Asked to handle more each season by Ducks coaches and delivered consistent production. Stands tall in pocket with three-quarter delivery and quiet release. Keen sense of where trouble lurks and almost never gets baited into a dangerous throw. Threw multiple interceptions in a game just three times over 41 career starts. Adequate accuracy and ball placement from the pocket. Able to make off-balance, difficult throws. Can uncork throws quickly and without resetting feet when necessary. Can climb the pocket and deliver strikes when he trusts the edges of his protection. Silky smooth when asked to roll out and delivers on time with sound mechanics. Has balance and feet to escape collapsing pocket and will look to strike through the air rather than just bolting as a runner. Size, speed and enough skill to eat in the red zone. Considered extremely coachable by scouts, who also love his willingness to play hurt. Very humble and leads by example. Family and heritage are extremely important to him.
WEAKNESSES: Benefits from an offense that is predicated on simplified reads. Offense able to create wide-open receivers after busted coverages at times. Needs to improve resetting feet when maneuvering pocket to improve accuracy and power. Tends to “see” pass rush too often. Will drop eyes and look to escape pocket rather than stepping to available pocket space. Frequent trips outside pocket increase opportunity for injury. Pocket feel is very average. Stepped into sacks he had no business taking. Didn’t have to throw to tight windows often. Average processor on field. Still learning when to get rid of the ball and move to next play. Slow to make anticipatory throws and can improve patience in allowing combo routes to mature rather than rushing the read. Missed obvious pre-snap blitzes. Drive accuracy needs work. When cutting it loose, ball tends to sail on him a bit. Arm strength is adequate but inconsistent to field side. Needs to bring hips through throws to increase zip into tight windows in NFL. Fumbled 27 times during his career.
Next: Highlights and Final Thoughts
Mariota is not without positives. You guys know how I feel overall about him, but there certainly are positives. Marcus Mariota has a strong arm. That’s a start. Mariota is an excellent ball handler as well. He can run a ball fake as well as anybody. Marcus Mariota can improvise, and we all know that he can use his legs to make a play.
But, my issue is two-fold, ball placement and footwork. Mariota’s footwork is not consistent. He doesn’t set his feet well on each and every throw. He will throw without striding with the front foot. He even threw at least one jump pass on that tape, without much of a rush in his face. And you know what bad footwork leads to? Bad ball placement. Even when he completed throws, too many times is he hitting the guy on the wrong shoulder, throwing behind. Some throws even made his receiver break stride.
He could get away with it in college because his receivers were wide open. In the NFL they won’t be. The passing windows are smaller.
Colin Kaepernick has fallen from grace. Robert Griffin III is not a quarterback in high demand. Russell Wilson is an exception, with his running ability as well as an accurate arm. The norm is not that type of quarterback. You need a pocket passer.
At number six in the draft, you cannot miss. If the Jets were to miss with a quarterback at number six, it will set the Jets back for years. You can miss in the later rounds, but you cannot miss at number six. Marcus Mariota has the potential to be great. But he isn’t a “can’t miss” prospect. Mariota is too risky with the number six pick of the draft. Some of you will agree, some will not, but I would pass.
Next: Breaking Down the Revis Contract
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