Player Name: Marcus Mariota
H/W: 6'4 222
School/Class: Oregon/Redshirt Junior
Measureables: 4.52 40 yard dash, 36" vertical jump, 10'1" broad jump, 6.87 three cone drill, 4.11 20 yard shuttle
- Character - Mariota, simply put, has excellent character. Impeccable both on and off the field in a similar vein to Seattle's Russell Wilson. A role model that every person should aspire to become.
- Athleticism - He is one of the best athletes in the entire class, regardless of position. Ran a position best 4.52 40 yard dash and tested very well in the other agility drills at the Combine. Mariota is a devastating weapon when he chooses to scramble away and also on designed runs for him. At Oregon, defenders simply couldn't keep up with him when he turned the corner and shifted gears downfield. Electrifying talent in this regard similar to Michael Vick (pre prison) and current generation Colin Kaepernick. Looks to pass on the run instead of running.
- Intangibles - Mariota could be described as a guy who is the first one to enter the facility and is often the last to leave. Teammates and coaches alike have raved about his leadership skills even if he isn't the most emotive person. It has been mentioned that he could have started his true freshman season because he learned the playbook so fast but the Ducks stuck to their redshirt plan. Football intelligence is excellent in that he executed the right read nearly every time.
- Arm talent - Possesses enough arm strength to make just about every big league throw. Great passer on the run. Ball placement is above average. Confident in his arm to make the throws even when he's under duress. Touch on screens and vertical routes are good as well. A quick and efficient release.
- Scheme - Oregon runs an unconventional spread offense in which the reads are simplified for the QB. The key to the success of the Ducks attack is the repeated nature of simple plays wearing down an opposing defense. The offense is too reliant on busted coverage plays. Can Mariota graduate to a much more complex NFL playbook where multiple reads are required all the time? Another question is that can he take the snap from under the center? I know that the league is progressing towards a more shotgun look but it's still a prerequisite to take the snap from the center.
- Pocket Awareness - Inconsistent and a work in progress. Mariota's feet are too active in the pocket for my liking. Needs to learn how to quickly reset his feet, plant, and throw. MM's (or any QB for that matter) passes have a tendency to lack power and I've noticed a few were "short-armed" because his feet weren't set. Another thing is that he needs to learn how to get rid of the ball and live to fight another day instead of hanging on to take needless sacks. Needs work on making the anticipatory throws (throwing the receiver open). Needs to strike that balance between scrambling and allowing the route to fully develop.
Mariota naturally improved as his career went along even after noted offensive guru, Chip Kelly, left for the Philadelphia Eagles. This bodes well for him under an offensive minded coaching staff under Ken Whisenhunt in Nashville. Although I do have some questions regarding the system fit and his pocket awareness being less than ideal (although they are coachable issues). I deliberately chose to watch the Michigan State and Ohio State tape because the talent on both defenses would require Mariota to be hemmed in the pocket to a certain extent. He performed admirably in each game and even exceeded my expectations after watching those two games live and on tape.
I'm in full support of the pick as you can't pass up an opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback. Yes I know that the inevitable comps to RG3 are coming but I feel that Mariota is much more prepared as a pro passer than Griffin was coming out of college. Also, Oregon's offense is much more "pro friendly" than Baylor's ever will be. Off the field wise, Marcus Mariota is a home run pick. Not one person can say a bad word about him or his character. I look forward in welcoming all of the Addicted to Quack fans over to MCM as we move along during the year.