I’ll be honest, even though Marcus Mariota has the ability to be a franchise quarterback I wanted the Tennessee Titans to take the huge trade from the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2015 NFL Draft. However, what if that offer never existed?
Recent quotes from Chip Kelly say that he didn’t offer the rumored boatload of picks and players that insiders said. Looking back on it, it would be hard to believe that the Tennessee Titans passed on such a haul unless they thought Marcus Mariota is an elite quarterback.
“Mariota showed extremely well in 2014 after posting solid grades in 2013. He did take a step up as a passer this past season”-Pro Football Focus
Ignoring the trade rumors for tonight, lets objectively look at Marcus Mariota the player.
I know that I would speak from a glass half empty perspective on Marcus Mariota here, because I have been a fan of his since watching him at length two years ago. So, I will use some quotes from people who have no reason to paint a prettier picture.
Pro Football starts out their “strengths” section on Marcus Mariota like this:
“Mariota showed extremely well in 2014 after posting solid grades in 2013. He did take a step up as a passer this past season, avoiding some of the inconsistency he showed a year ago. He fared well under pressure and against the blitz, whether avoiding defenders to find throwing lanes or using his athleticism to break the pocket. Perhaps overlooked is his ability to work through progressions and hit passes on the back side of plays. He will often start his progression on one side of the field, then come back to hit the back side post/dig route. You see this with him multiple times every game.”
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For all the nonsense that people spout about him being a “system QB”, Marcus Mariota does something that very few quarterbacks at any level can do: go through progressions.
In Ken Whisenhunt’s system, he no longer needs to worry about limiting the field to halves for easier dissection (Zach Mettenberger) or because he is a better thrower on the move (Jake Locker).
PFF also has a projection for Marcus Mariota’s first year:
60.4% completion percentage, 3,580 passing yards, 20 TDs, 15 INTs, 549 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
That was projected to be 18th best above quarterbacks like Matt Stafford, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, and yes even above Jameis Winston.
So now, that we have read what the experts have to say lets look at common sense. The Tennessee Titans now have two quarterbacks capable of playing in the NFL, which is important for fans worried about either Zach Mettenberger or Marcus Mariota’s durability.
I think that once Marcus Mariota starts preseason, fans will see a player that plays with the intelligence of Russell Wilson in the body of Colin Kaepernick. He is a dynamic athlete that wins with his head as often as he wins with his athleticism. If Ken Whisenhunt is the offensive guru that he is made out to be, then I can’t wait to see what the Tennessee Titans will do with a prospect with his huge ceiling.
Also, isn’t it nice to have a quarterback that you don’t have to worry about outside the numbers for the next 10 years? Between Vince Young, Zach Mettenberger and Jake Locker’s injuries the better part of the last decade has been spent worrying that the quarterback was an accident waiting to happen. Get excited fans, Marcus Mariota is the first Tennessee Titans quarterback since Steve McNair that could actually be great.