Last week, we finished off with a bang, with Bruce Matthews winning easily over Kyle Vanden Bosch. "KVB" had a nice run, upsetting Samari Rolle in round 1, but it would have been very tough for him to take down the all-time great. Now that round 1 is over, we are rolling through these matchups--after today, half of the third round will be set up. Who will Bruce Matthews see in round 3?
(2) Kevin Mawae: Mawae's matchup in round 1 was a stroll in the park. With all due respect to Kerry Collins, Mawae was simply in another league, on and off the field. However, today, he will be facing a different quarterback in Marcus Mariota. The two both play extremely important positions on the offense, and the two were/are both big time leaders in the locker room. Mawae was highly productive on the Titans, but he could have two possible knocks, especially when it comes to this matchup--first off, he only played for the team for 4 years, and second, he does not have the "flash" to him like a Marcus Mariota. That being said, his contributions during that time cannot be overstated. He solidified the offensive line, was a key piece for some of the best offensive lines in the league at the time, blocked for a 2000 yard rusher, and helped establish a winning culture in the locker room. He has outright earned his number 2 seed.
(3) Marcus Mariota: After round 1, Marcus Mariota showed that he has very much earned his seed too. Just like Mawae, he is a player in the locker room that the others look up to, and is in the process of establishing a new culture. When you think about the Titans, you think about Marcus Mariota. Even after 1 year, it is obvious how special he is, and how important he is to the franchise's success. While his career is still in progress, you can already see him doing things like lifting those up around him, setting franchise records, being a team leader, a part of the community, and much more. He is definitely the Titans' MVP, and will be for several, several years.
My vote: I am very aware that this is going to controversial, and may not be the popular opinion, but I am going to go with Marcus Mariota here. I will admit, there is projection here. However, I have all of the faith in the world in him. Also, his importance simply cannot be overstated. He plays the most important position on the team, is the face of the franchise, and is the key piece and focal point when it comes to turning things around. From a tangible and intangible standpoint, he is one of the most important players to have ever come through Nashville, even now.