With preseason approaching and Tennessee Titans fans eager to see their team, it is important to remember that for the next two months the only real news will be how the rookies are learning and adapting to the NFL.
This is what I expect right now from Marcus Mariota.
Games Started: 16
Games Played: 16
This is pretty obvious here. I probably don't need to talk about how I expect the player who has taken all the first team reps and gotten rave reviews, to get the nod to start.
Stats: 100% of the snaps, 62% completion rate, 3,500 yards, 20 TDs, 12 INTs, 500 rushing yards, 7 TDs
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have always thought Marcus Mariota was a better prospect than Jameis Winston. He doesn't make the dumb mental errors Winston does, and he knows how to read coverages. Not to mention that while he comes from an offensive system that makes QBs look better, so does Winston. If you don't believe that go look at where E.J. Manuel and Christian Ponder were both drafted after the FSU system gave them a boost.
Ultimately I think from a physical standpoint the Mariota has the athleticism of Colin Kaepernick with the intelligence and decision making of Russell Wilson. So, why wouldn't you expect big things from him?
I think there will be a lot of screens to Harry Douglas and Kendall Wright that help his completion percentage look good, but I think there will also be a fair amount of deep passes towards Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham too. With an improved running game and the opposing defense needing to account for six players on every snap (Marcus Mariota's legs included) this offense will have an easier time moving the ball.
I expect people who doubt Marcus Mariota to bite their tongues in a year from now. They are right that system quarterbacks are a dime a dozen, but quarterbacks with elite athleticism, great accuracy, a prototypical NFL frame (bigger than John Elway and Terry Bradshaw were when they played) are rare.
The Titans were lucky enough to be in a class with two quarterbacks that people loved, because in almost any other class Mariota would have been the top pick. Don't be surprised if (with this young nucleus of talent) Mariota gives other contenders for the OROY award a serious run for their money.