Name: Marcus Mariota
College: University of Oregon
Height/Weight: 6’4” / 212 lbs.
S.U. Rank: 1
Potential NFL Teams: Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Jacksonville, New York (Jets)
After quite a 2014 regular season, football fans will not be disappointed with how things are going to turn out in 2015. Following a dramatic and chaotic 17 weeks of regular season action, the playoffs provided more drama than the best masterpiece and now we must wait for more to come.
And come it will.
Marcus Mariota, the shining standout from the University of Oregon, provides the Bucs, Titans, Jaguars, and Jets the opportunity to finally seize the moment and grab a franchise quarterback. The Bucs, Titans, and Jets have no one to really go with in the long run while the Jaguars are still trying to test out Blake Bortles–but it doesn’t hurt to have a Heisman Trophy winner as your Plan B.
Here are three keys to Marcus Mariota’s success at the next level:
1. Flying High
While playing for the Oregon Ducks under the guidance of head coaches Chip Kelly (now with the Philadelphia Eagles) and Mark Helfrich (current), Marcus Mariota razzled and dazzled in the spread offense.After having decent years at the helm of Oregon’s offense as a freshman and a sophomore, Mariota saw the brightest lights as a junior in the storm of last season.
Previous averaging 31 touchdowns per season in the last two years, Mariota stacked his stats by throwing a whopping 42 touchdowns contrasted against just four interceptions–in fifteen games.
More and more, the NFL is becoming an up-beat league. Gone are the days where teams made their strategy one that would fit best in a low scoring game.
Nowadays, everyone wants to score as many points as possible as fast as you possibly can. The Oregon Ducks definitely mastered that art and Mariota was a big reason why. On top of throwing for his highest touchdown total of any season, Mariota gave it his all on the gridiron and produced his best career overall QBR — a raw total of 98.2.
Raw talent went a long way in college, but will go even further for the former Duck at the professional level.
2. Jameis Who?
I cannot begin to tell you how much talk came about when Jameis Winston lead the Florida State Seminoles to a National Championship last season. Fans, critics, coaches, and anyone else who follows college football suddenly felt like a self-fulfilling prophet by saying that Winston would be fantastic at the next level.
Now, those bandwagon fans have hopped on the right bus in Mariota.
Marcus Mariota completely took the spotlight from Winston, no doubt one of the more talented college quarterbacks that I’ve seen play–but he didn’t just take it, he ran with it. On his way to knocking Winston & Co. out of the Inaugural College Football Playoff in a 59-20 massacre, Mariota finally lead the Ducks to the promised land of a National Championship before having their cord cut by the stunning Buckeyes of Ohio State.
Mariota also took home the Heisman Trophy, beating out Jameis Winston, Melvin Gordon, and others for the distinguished honor that goes to the best college football player in the nation.
Being able to not worry about what the media says about you shows that Mariota has the kind of thick skin to take the heat wherever he may go–especially if he ends up being a Jet.
Just imagine if Ohio State’s third-string quarterback Cardale Jones (the guy that actually won the championship) had decided to go pro?
Too much good stuff.
3. A Long Time Coming
The wait is almost finally over to see some great college athletes perform in the pros, but Marcus Mariota tops them all for one more reason–speed.
Running a 4.52u at the 2015 NFL Combine, Mariota left no doubt that he can get out of the pocket for a scramble in key situations if need be–a characteristic commonly associated with Seattle’s Russell Wilson (and we know what kind of start to a career that guy has had).
The two quarterbacks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl–Russell Wilson (SEA) and Colin Kaepernick (SF)–both displayed this kind of speed and it ended up playing a huge part in their teams’ respective playoff runs.
To bring this kind of speed to the AFC now (it’s almost a lock considering the teams considering Mariota that will have the chance to draft him high are all AFC teams) will make the playoffs–and one day the Super Bowl–even more exciting than we’ve ever seen it before.
Watching a Russell Wilson vs. Tom Brady Super Bowl had America glued to their couch. If you didn’t catch this from watching the game, Wilson and Brady have two completely different approaches to how they handle and perform at their position.
If both styles are good enough to have repeat Super Bowl appearances (and championships…at least for Brady), imagine the kind of gusto that two running, wheeling, and dealing quarterbacks might have on the NFL’s biggest stage.
All I know is that I can’t wait.
Do you want to look at more prospect profiles? Then click 2015 NFL Draft Top Prospects Rankings: Top-3 QB, RB, WR, S, CB, OLB, DE