The reigning Heisman Trophy winner held his highly anticipated pro day today. Coming off an impressive combine showing, qb Marcus Mariota auditioned for several potential employers.
Your Tennessee Titans included.
Early reviews would suggest that Mariota’s performance was less than stellar…certainly below the level he displayed at the combine a few weeks earlier. The fact that he took every snap from under center while failing to wow is also alarming, given the fact that the biggest question surrounding Mariota was his ability to transition from the Oregon offense to a pro style system.
All and all, a day that Mariota would probably like to hit the reset button on.
Having the number 2 pick in the draft, and having to address the quarterback position at some point this offseason, the Tennessee Titans are now in a precarious position. If coach Whisenhunt…who was in attendance…was turned off by Mariota’s performance, then he needs to channel his inner poker player.
Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota throws a pass during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The Titans have multiple holes to fill, so the ideal situation is to trade out of the number 2 slot. The picks that you acquire from a deal like that are far more valuable than Mariota, or even Leonard Williams for that matter.
Washington, the New York Jets, and Chicago, who pick 5th and 6th and 7th, are perfect candidates for a bidding war should Mariota’s stock rise before the draft.
Tennessee, at this point, hold the key to that stock. So it would behoove them to speak highly of Mariota, even if they have no plans on selecting him.
If the lackluster performance at today’s pro day turns into a big deal…and it’s the NFL so it probably will…then Tennessee should go into spin mode, and point to Minnesota starting qb Teddy Bridgewater. Last year Bridgewater had a terrible pro day, and it showed on draft night. Once given a chance, Bridgewater proved why he was one of the most talented qb’s of his class.
I would regurgitate that story at every press conference leading up to the draft. Even if I have no plans on selecting him.
The object here is to drum up interest for Mariota. If you’ve ever sold anything, you always point out the best in your product. The Rams accelerated their rebuilding process for basically trading away the rights to RGIII for future draft picks. St. Louis is knocking on the door now. We can debate on what kind of product they sold the Redskins at another time.
So I’ll digress.
The Titans are not in a “one player away” type of situation. Plus, there is strength in numbers. Rookie contracts are a lot easier to manage than having to constantly over pay mid grade free agents because the team has been struggling.
Tennessee has nothing to lose by talking up Mariota. At best, they trade down and acquire more picks to stockpile more talent. At worse, they still have the number two pick in the draft.
I hope coach Whiz is good at poker.