NFL media analyst and former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks has a lot of experience around the league in nearly every facet. So when he tweeted out what his qualifications for a "blue-chip" talent were, it makes sense to really look at what his definition entails. So, lets do that now and look at how that applies to a player who could be a real blue-chip player for the Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota.
Earlier, this is what Bucky Brooks tweeted:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here are the 5 traits scouts look for in "blue-chip" players: 1. Intelligence 2. Leadership 3. Competitiveness 4. Perseverance 5. Clutch</p>— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) <a href="https://twitter.com/BuckyBrooks/status/602155415967703040">May 23, 2015</a></blockquote>
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So let's go through that step by step.
It is hard to doubt Marcus Mariota's intelligence. Not only does the Oregon offense require that you quickly read and dissect defenses, you also need to know a lot to be as good as he was for so many years. It takes a lot for a quarterback to not force throws they shouldn't and to end the year with single digit interceptions is an amazing feat. The fact that Mariota finished his last year with a 57:4 TD to interception ratio is insane.
Mariota earns a pass here from me.
There have been numerous former Oregon Ducks that have come out and said that Marcus Mariota was a leader and that he doesn't need to be a cheerleader or scream to get people's attention. ESPN's Paul Kuharsky recently wrote a story where he quoted Taylor Lewan saying, "Everyone wants to talk about him being like a hermit or quiet or whatever. He might be a little more soft spoken than other guys. I mean maybe compared to me, but he held a conversation just fine. He's a great guy. I have nothing bad to say about him right now and hopefully he's a damn good football player."
Time will tell how good of a leader he is, but I think to say that he isn't a leader at this point is just lazy. Just because he doesn't yell or scream doesn't mean he can't lead. That is why based on his past you have to give him a pass here.
While Marcus Mariota was not in a lot of close games, I would say that you have to call him competitive. Not only is he a guy who rushed the ball a fair amount of times in college (not something that a non-competitive QB really does), but he also came into a huge college program as a 2-star recruit according to ESPN's scouting metric.
He also did that when the Ducks had just brought in Bryan Bennett the year before. Despite all that, Mariota still went on to not only win the starting job, but to lead an elite offense and win the Heisman. That sounds competitive enough for me.
These are the two tough metrics to gauge. One one had, how can you fault a player for never putting themselves in a bad situation? On the other, how do you know how the player will react when the times get tough? These things don't bother me because someone who can stare down the barrel of a pass rusher and still come up with some great throws, tends to earn my respect in terms of how they do in the clutch.
Perseverance is another hard thing to measure, but I go back to the recruiting story. Everyone knows at this point that he says he was only recruited by Memphis and Oregon, and ultimately chose the bigger program rather than the safe bet on where he could start. That makes me believe that he has all that inner drive and perseverance to compete to win every way he can.
Ultimately it is up to you to decide whether he was an "blue-chip" player at the college level, but in just a few months we will all have a much better idea about just how good of a prospect Marcus Mariota really is. I for one think he passes all those tests, and that the future looks bright for Tennessee.