4. Marcus Mariota, QB
So, what’s the problem with being a top-five selection in the first round of the NFL Draft? There are certain expectations attached to that sort of draft stock, and it’s even worse if you are a quarterback. Not only do you become the “franchise savior,” but you also have a benchmark to meet in an unrealistic time frame. Everyone wants the next Tom Brady, and they want it now.
Under immense pressure, Mariota learned the system(s), led to the best of his ability, and got himself hurt trying to help this team win. Who is to blame? Maybe Marcus was careless with his body, or perhaps the front office never did much to help him. It’s a moot point; the Mariota experience is over in Nashville.
Together, we watched as Marcus’ fundamentals deteriorated over time. As if each hit Mariota took were waves crashing against the shore, eroding into the sediment. Mariota’s lower body mechanics began to wane until eventually, his “happy feet” affected his velocity on the ball and accuracy hitting a target. He couldn’t deliver a short screen pass in an acceptable location anymore because he threw too often off of his back foot.
It’s incredibly sad — Mariota is said to be an outstanding guy and an even better teammate. Albeit distressing, the Titans have to look towards the future, as is the nature of the business. As much as I like Marcus, it’s a shame the Titans were unable to get anything for him before the trade deadline.