NFL Draft 2014 Prospect Profile: Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks
By Corey Brewer
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Mariota – Quarterback – Oregon
Ht: 6’ 4’’
Passing through Week 7 (with national ranks)
1,724 Yards (17th)
17 TD (T5)
0 INT (T1)
Projected Round: 1 (Top 10)
Marcus Mariota is quickly rising up most experts draft boards. He has shown great improvement over the 2013 season so far and is becoming a more dynamic passer every week. Over the weekend he showed how dynamic he can be by going 24 for 31 with 366 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air, while adding 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground against a tough Washington team.
- “We just unfortunately had a hard time containing Marcus Mariota. He threw the ball extremely well and when we covered him, he ran. We tried to catch him. We tried to spot him. We tried to blitz him. We tried to contain him.” – Washington Head Coach, Steve Sarkisian.
He throws a very smooth ball, and he puts it where his receivers can catch it. He has good arm strength and is able to get the ball down field.
He plays in a system that preaches speed. Yet, even though he gets rid of the ball very quickly, he is still able to go through his reads and makes smart decisions.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mariota is very mobile and does a great job throwing on the run. He has 426 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground so far this season. At times, he does choose to leave the pocket and scramble when it isn’t necessary.
His speed makes it easy for him to tuck the ball and run whenever he sees fit. At the NFL level, defenders are much faster, so he must have confidence in the pocket and get rid of the ball.
A downside to playing in the Oregon offense is that he is always throwing to wide open receivers, so scouts are unsure whether he will be able to consistently throw his receivers open or throw into traffic. Many evaluators are hesitant to rate him high on their boards because he hasn’t had to play under pressure enough in his short career.
At times he does struggle with his accuracy. He tends to miss his receivers high more often than he should. This can be attributed to his footwork. He will need to develop more “happy” feet in the future if he wants to be able to adjust to defenders and keep the ball on a line.
Mariota is still very young and unproven. He will only be 20 years old at the end of October. I believe that it would be better for him to stay at Oregon and play at least another full year at the college level.
This would help him develop the skills that still need work, as well as letting him mature as a person before thrusting him onto the scene. Although he is only a redshirt sophomore, most experts believe he will enter the 2014 draft. If that is the case, he could potentially be the second quarterback taken in the first round.