Marcus Mariota   QB   Oregon

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Marcus has the athletic talent, arm strength, size and mental toughness to become the face of a franchise for the team that selects him. He has a calming inner strength leadership way about him that makes it easy to lead his teammates that gains the respect from the players around him. Marcus shows very good accuracy from the pocket and has excellent touch on the ball. He can make throws from different positions and doesnít change arm speeds when he is pressured. He has the arm strength to make all the throws with nice velocity when it is needed. His arm strength is deceiving because of his accuracy and touch to make the difficult throw that most QBís coming out of college would not dare to make. Marcus shows quick feet and runs with an excellent burst when he is forced to run for yardage. This year because of a lack of experience talent around him, Marcus has had to do more with his feet to open up the offense for his passing; however, once he gains control and is in the red zone, he strikes with the passing game to score touchdowns and that proves the confidence he has in himself to pass the ball in adverse situations. Marcus has all the ingredients to become the face of a franchise and an excellent pocket passer. Thatís why I call him Marcus (Pocket Man) Mariota.

CONCERNS
Marcus holds onto the ball too long waiting to make plays after the initial play breaks down and he is forced from the pocket. He has the size, athleticism, arm strength and accuracy on the run to make plays out of the pocket, but he has to learn to trust his receivers more, go through his progressions more quickly and how to read defenses. Untitl he does these things, he will struggle at the next level. Thatís not a reason not to draft Marcus in the early rounds of this draft.

BOTTOM LINE
Marcus should be considered as one of the top players in this draft. Nevertheless he reminds me a lot of the Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manual and may struggle at first like EJ has for the Bills. He is a much better passer than most athletic quarterbacks coming out in the draft. Nevertheless, Marcus is not any further along in reading defenses, throwing to spots on the field and is very rudimentary in his understanding of zone defenses and throwing in rhythm. Marcus has been in the style of offense that doesnít require the quarterback to do much progression reading in the pocket. This will cause him problems at the next level unless the NFL team that selects him decides to run the same offense that Marcus has played in at the college level. The biggest difference in the way Marcus plays as opposed to other athletic quarterbacks who come out from those one dimensional rudimentary offenses is that Marcus wants, and likes, to stay in the pocket and loves to throw the ball rather than run the ball. He runs now because he understands that his team needs that, but I believe that once he gets into a more pro style offense, learns to read defenses and realizes that at the next level receivers donít look like they are open when you have to throw the ball, he will adapt quicker than most other athletic quarterbacks have in the past and become an excellent pocket passer. Marcus (Pocket Man) Mariota is a quality kid with excellent talent and right now he is just a pro style offense away from being a very successful pocket passer and a potential franchise quarterback for the team that selects him.

Drew Boylhart
DEC/2014