The Marcus Mariota Complexity
By Tyler Lurkins
Anymore, the mock draft phenomena is turning into a Final Four bracket. On draft day, twitter hums with the #mockbusted hash tag. The draft is extremely weak this year, and a mocker has a stellar chance of being fairly accurate. Fairly accurate, that is, if they can successfully mock Marcus Mariota.
After 2011 brought us the high selected busts of Ponder, Gabbert, and Locker, teams have been a bit hesitant to reach for a QB. We saw this in 2012 with the surefire top 10 pick, Brandon Weeden, silde to the bottom of the first. Weeden’s failure led to an even bigger drop of quarterbacks in 2013. Manuel went in the first, but Bills fans wish he didn’t. Matt Barkley drew crazy comparisons to Matt Schaub, Chad Pennington, Vinny Testaverde, and even Joe Montana. Yeah, he fell to the 4th round and has done nothing. Geno Smith fell to the 2nd, though many had him as a top 10 guy, and has been a poor performer. Glennon and Nassib were supposed to be major sleepers who can take over a franchise…..no one wants Glennon, and Nassib is riding the pine behind Eli Manning. 2014 brought us Johnny Football, who has been a Johnny on the Spot outhouse in Cleveland. Scouts said Bridgewater was the most NFL ready quarterback, and though developing well, the Vikings still had to trade into the first to grab him. Carr’s ceiling started at pick 10 and bottomed in the top 45, and has been a pleasant little surprise. Is Mariota any different than these guys?
Here is the first round draft order, and how teams may, or may not, consider this year’s mystery, Marcus Mariota.
1. Tampa Bay-Mariota has a chance….if Winston retires from football.
2. Tennessee-Tennessee is a great landing spot for Mariota, but they seem high on Mettenberger. With so many other needs, and a potential star in Leonard Williams, the Titans will probably pass.
3. Jacksonville-The Jags have Bortles, and need a ton of talent. Trading back really makes no sense.
4. Oakland-The Raiders have Carr, but new coaches mean new QBs. However, Del Rio doesn’t have the time to wait for Mariota to develop. The Raiders could trade back, but how far?
5. Washington-Scot McCloughlan says not to give up on RG3. Plus Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder won’t want to look like a fool benching their golden child after losing so many picks. Gruden was brought in to work with RG3, not get rid of him. With few needs, would Washington slip down to Philly’s spot for a load of picks?
6. New York Jets-This is where Mariota is in my draft, but only because Woody Johnson likes big splashes. Fitzpatrick can lead the charge for a year while Mariota develops. If Mariota falls past the Jets then…..
7. Chicago-Chicago has Cutler, and could use some high end prospects that will be available here.
8. Atlanta-Matt Ryan
9. New York Giants-Eli’s contract is coming up, and the Giants always take the top talent. Mark my words, the Giants WILL NOT PASS on Mariota.
10. St. Louis-St. Louis needs to win now and they have Foles.
11. Minnesota-Teddy Bridgewater. Minnesota will trade back if Mariota is available.
12. Cleveland-Cleveland has the pieces to grab Mariota easily, and may make a move. Mariota is an improvement, but he won’t help them this year. Cleveland has to let Manziel attempt to succeed. They simply can’t afford to blow another first round pick on a QB from a non NFL scheme.
13. New Orleans-Brees is destroying their payroll, but Mariota will set the Saints back at least three years.
15. San Francisco-As many head scratching moves as the Niners’ brass has been making, trading for Mariota, or selecting him if falls, wouldn’t surprise me.
16. Houston-If Mariota slides, Houston will ponder the selection. Ultimately, Mariota is not the QB that will fit in Bill O’Brien’s offense.
17. San Diego-Rumors are to trade Rivers and grab Mariota. It’s a great possibility, but I’m not sure if top 5 teams want to trade back to here. Plus, it would mean resetting the clock and the Chargers are a team a few breaks away from being very tough.
18. Kansas City-I would wager that if Mariota lands here, Reid wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. The Chiefs have minimal needs and Andy Reid would love to have a mobile, strong armed, QB to lead the team.
19. Cleveland-If Mariota makes it here, maybe the Brownies should consider him, but they should still pass for talented players to plug elsewhere.
20. Philadelphia-Yep. Mariota will stop here. However, how could Philly trade up? St. Louis and Minnesota will trade back to here, but no teams in the top 9 will. The draft is weak, with maybe 15 players being considered elite. Sliding to pick 20, without a basket full of picks to come with it, is hard for any team in the top 9. Chip Kelly is questionable, but not an idiot. He simply won’t trade his future for Mariota. Bradford will probably stay healthy in this up tempo offense, as the speed of the offense may avoid him from taking hits, and Bradford will be stud in this scheme.
After pick 20, we guarantee Mariota will fall out of the first round, unless New Orleans wants him at pick #31. A coach simply doesn’t have longevity in the NFL, and may only see a three year window to remain a head coach. If a coach is staking his reputation on a rookie QB, is looking to upgrade his QB position, OR wants to mortgage future picks on a QB, next year is the year to do it. Not this year. Next year, teams know they’ll probably have a chance at an NFL prototypical QB like Christian Hackenberg, Connor Cook, Kevin Hogan, Jake Coker, and Gunner Keil. Not to mention, the draft will see a big injection of talent coming into the first round.
Good luck with your mocks folks!