3. Marcus Mariota, Quarterback
Marcus Mariota has faults, but when you look at Matthew Stafford on the list of CPoY award winners your first thought should be about how much better Mariota is than Stafford at that point.
I truly believe that if Mariota played a healthy season, people would be in awe of what he did on the field. As far as being clutch goes, no one in the league right now is close to him.
Sure, guys like Patrick Mahomes who are dominant all game long and are surrounded by top-end skill position players should be way ahead of Mariota in conversation for any comprehensive QB awards. However, in terms of the ability to claw back from a bad performance by players around him or to overcome defensive struggles, no one has done it more often than #8.
You can see Mariota get so much better and confident when he goes a few games without an injury. It takes some time for him to get his confidence back, but when he does he ends up with some eye popping wins like his win against Tom Brady and the Patriots this year.
I don’t know that he would ever put up a 4,500 yard season or anything like that, but if he stayed healthy for a full year and took the Titans to a 11-5 record or better then he would immediately move up to near the top of those rankings.
The question for Mariota is the same question that a lot of these other CPoY winners had: health. If he can make it through 16 games, he will be one of the front runners but that is a huge ‘if”.