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- Position: Quarterback (QB)
- Class: Junior (redshirt)
- College: Oregon
- Ht/Wt: 6'4", 222 pounds
In Marcus Mariota, I see a physically talented quarterback with underdeveloped fundamentals thanks to his college offense. Mariota has outstanding pocket elusiveness; he ran a 4.52-second 40 yard dash and is an explosive short-area athlete. He has the long speed to be a serious running threat, and he moves well in all directions, even from his throwing stance. Mariota has a strong arm and good accuracy in all parts of the field. He had an immensely successful college career, with a 105-to-14 career touchdown-to-interception ratio, over 10,000 passing yards, and over 2,000 rushing yards. Obviously, there's a lot there to like.
That being said, I see Mariota as a project. Primarily, his decision-making needs work. When pressured, Mariota usually rolls backward in the pocket rather than stepping up. Not used to buying time in the pocket, he prefers to take off and run if his main read isn't open. His touch could use some work; he sails a few passes per game, often on deeper routes. Fumbles will be a concern with Mariota, who had 27 in his career at Oregon. When scrambling (or navigating the pocket when pressured), he carries the ball very loosely and far away from his body, and he has had difficulty securing the ball during play-action fakes. Right now, Mariota doesn't make pre-snap reads, and his anticipation is unrefined, but these are traits he looks capable of learning. Reportedly, he has the most driven and boring personality scouts have seen in the draft since Russell Wilson joined the league.
When I watched Mariota, the first player who came to mind was Colin Kaepernick, who carried similar traits of being a very athletic, strong armed quarterback who came from an unconventional college offense with unrefined traits. Where I think Mariota differs is his smoother movement and incredible penchant for avoiding interceptions. I started my process with Mariota as a second-round grade, but it's clear to me that he has franchise quarterback traits and is extremely coachable. I do have him graded as a first-rounder, but I'm not sure he's a Top 10 prospect. Being a quarterback, he will still probably be drafted that high.