Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) vs Washington

I’ve already re-assessed my take on the quarterback class for 2014. It’s not 2012-good, but it’s shaping up to be a very decent group with plenty of depth. If Marcus Mariota continues to play at the level we saw on Saturday, he’ll have a tough decision to make at the end of the season.

Zach Mettenberger and Teddy Bridgewater are both making strong cases to go early. Mariota would be right up there too if he declares. And there’s plenty of depth with Derek Carr, Tajh Boyd, Johnny Manziel and others.

The quarterback position, along with another deep crop of offensive tackles, should dominate next years draft.

This has been a busy week for me looking after the baby, I’ll be a little more active before and after the Cardinals game on Thursday.


  1. Mark

    When I watched Mariota last year, it seemed to me that he had the tools to play at the next level. Then I thought of the litany of Oregon quarterbacks who blew up in college and flopped in the NFL – Joey Harrington, Kellen Clemens, Akili Smith, Dennis Dixon…it hasn’t been pretty. The performance of other players, of course, says nothing about Mariota. I hope he breaks the streak. (Just not for St. Louis or Arizona…)

    OT…Congrats to England for qualifying for World Cup 2016. Little Henry gets to root for the home side next year.

  2. Kenny Sloth


    • Ben

      I’d say no. Mariota has better speed than Bridgewater, but in the arm department he’s not as good. He’s always been around a 57 in completion percentage and his “longest pass” stat can be a bit confused because of the speed that he has.

      • Beanhawk

        Not trying to argue against Bridgewater, but from where are you getting your Mariota stats. He has a 60% completion percentage this year and had a 68.5% completion percentage last year. Also, what does his speed have to do with his longest pass? Your post have left me very confused.

        • Ben

          Sorry, I must have checked the stats for the season before the UW game, but what I was saying about the speed was referring to the speed AROUND him. DeAnthony Thomas, Josh Huff, those guys.

  3. Cameron

    Based on the game tape provided I have to admit I am not that impressed. Really, what’s different between Mariotta and Sam Bradford when he came out of Oklahoma? Definitely more athletic and he’s a weapon outside the pocket for sure. Other than that I see a system QB who benefits immensely from from the talent around him. I mean my god, did you see that pocket he had? All day. Did you see how open his receivers were? I’d be more impressed if he hit some of those guys in stride so they could make plays… didn’t see much of that. Maybe I’m being a bit critical. A plus athleticism version of Sam Bradford wouldn’t be that bad. Still, I can’t give him anything more than a 2nd round grade.

  4. SunPathPaul

    When I watch Manziel, I still see him as the best QB coming out… He just has that ‘it’ mojo.

    • Colin

      I think Manziel has likely talked himself out of the 1st round for 2014. Kid has a ton of issues in the offseason, hand him a few hundred grand in that first signing bonus and watch out.

      • Ben

        It only takes 1 team.

        • Colin

          But is there one team that thinks highly enough of his potential and willing enough to look past his off the field ‘challenges’ to make him a 1st round pick?

          • Kenny Sloth

            Probably Chip Kelly.

  5. Don

    Are you kidding me?

    From the comments above there are people who are not that impressed with Mariota? Well, that is to be expected from UW fans.

    Cameron, Mariota did hit a lot of receivers in stride. Look at the video at 40 sec, 3:07, 4:56, 5:05 . Did you forget about the 73 yd TD catch by Huff? That was thrown spot on , in stride. Look at the 9:05 catch, 9:34, and the final TD catch at 9:34, all in stride.

    SunPathPaul, Manziel is an overconfident, brash, undisciplined, drinking, partying frat kid who gets away with playing QB because his receivers bail him out when he’s in trouble. If you were the GM or the owner of a franchise, whould you want him to be your role model, your poster boy for your city? Someone who got invited to the Manning Youth Football Camp and he was so hung over from the night before he didn’t show up? Yea, that is the kind of commitment I want from my QB. LOL

    Mariota will be one of the top two QB taken in next year’s draft, and could be the #1 pick. Certainly a top 3 pick. I hope he stays another year at Oregon to continue Oregon’s dominance and win a National championship.

    • Ben

      Hold on there. I’m not really a husky fan, sure I enjoy it when they do well, but I don’t really follow them, and I can tell you that I’m still skeptical. There’s a lot to like about Mariota, his size, his arm strength, his speed, the lack of turnovers, but he’s had struggles with accuracy. Yes I see him hitting receivers in stride, I saw that from Blaine Gabbert too. He doesn’t get in a huddle very much, if at all. You do know some of what you’re talking about, but you also seem to be wearing very heavily shaded green and yellow goggles.

    • Chris

      I’m a Coug. Glad Huskies lost.

      The guy doesn’t look like anything special to me. Slightly funky delivery, pretty weak arm. Obviously a 1 read and take-off guy. Poor arm talent overall, although might have some accuracy to compensate.

      For a runner he looks a bit thin, and although good, non-exceptional. Good, not great, game speed. Not much shake or moves. Frankly, I think he’d get clobbered trying anything remotely like he’s doing now in the NFL. Ridiculous amount of talent around him is making his job really simple. Throw lots of swing passes, spend all year in a perfect pocket for deeper routes, only need to read first receiver since he’s usually open anyway, and if not take off running.

      Definition of system quarterback.

  6. Don


    Can you compare Mariota strengths and weakensses compared to Luck when he was a Junior in college? I see Mariota having just as good of an arm, accuracy, escapability as Luck, but runs much faster downfield. If Luck can be the #1 pick, so can Mariota.

    • Kenny Sloth

      His arm strength is nowhere near Luck’s. I would say he’s less accurate, too. Luck has incredible intangibles that are a chore for Mariota.

      • Alex

        From what i remember, Mariotta is faster and has superior arm strenghth. Luck didn’t become the all world prospect from his physical talents. Aside from his physical toughness, durability, and height, he is rather average for a NFL prospect. I distinctly remember him having heavy feet. He did rush for yards but that’s more due to broken coverage and recognizing when to run than raw speed.His arm strength was good for college standards, but average in the NFL. His throws have decent spin, but it doesn’t zip through the air the way a pass from Stafford or Flacco’s pass does. On the other hand his touch was perfect and he has accuracy. The area that distinguished him was his mental mastery of a NFL offense at the college level because it makes his projection easy.

    • Rob Staton

      For me Luck was on a completely different level, but then I’m not sure we’ll see another QB like Luck come into the league in our generation. And we witnessed first hand how good he is in week 5.

  7. Alex

    With all due respect Don, i tend to lean towards the first few comments. He’s not a bad QB prospect but the UW game would not be the game i would point towards. For the most part Mariotta had forever to throw because Wilcox only rushed 4 and he could complete anything he wanted as Wilcox called a lot of soft zones.

    • Colin

      I’m pretty leery myself of these programs that plug QB’s in and get great results everytime. Eerily similar of Landry Jones at Oklahoma. So many people got blinded by the stellar numbers that for a year and a half they touted him as a for sure 1st round pick.

    • Don

      I would agree that the system a QB plays in can inflate statistics, but I still don’t see that much difference between Mariota and Luck from a skills stand point at the same point in college. Time will tell.

      Here is one opinion about the current list of QB’s for the Heisman.–ncaaf.html

      • Brian

        Wait – what? There’s a huge difference between Luck and Mariota – they are proverbial apples and oranges. Different offenses, different skillsets, different NFL projections. If you can’t see that – that’s on you.

        I’m not saying that Mariota’s not an elite QB, and I’m not saying he can’t succeed at the next level – but he’s light years away from Luck. There are 2 NFL throws on this tape, and both of them are with no pressure.

        • Alex

          The biggest difference is their control of the offense. His pre-snap reads are the best I’ve ever seen from a college prospect. I’ve seen him adjust the offense formation 3 times within one play.The defense would align, Luck adjusts, defense realigns, Luck readjusts, defense realigns again , Luck adjusts again for the 3rd time. All of this occurs within one down before the ball is even snapped.

    • Don

      I would not say Mariota had all day to throw. He was flushed out of the pocket on many occasions which forced him to scramble and gain yards. He didn’t sit back and leasurly choose his targets. Thats why he had so many rushing yards, some were designed option plays, and some were running from pressure.

      Why would Wilcox call for a lot of soft zones if it wasn’t working? He even had a spy on Mariota that was ineffective. Steve Sarkisian had nothing but great things to say about him after the game.

      It just seems like this guy has it all.

      • Don

        If he isn’t that good, why does Mariota have 26 TD and 0 interceptions dating from last year? That is beyond Peyton and Luck numbers.

        • Colin

          Numbers, for the most part, are meaningless. Barkley put up good numbers at USC and went in round 4. Landry Jones threw for tons of yards/TD’s at Oklahoma, and he too went in round 4.

          You need to consider circumstances:

          Who is he playing?

          What kind of scheme/plays are they running? Are they pre-designed with specific intentions or will the QB need to make reads?

          How good are the players around him?

          Does the skill set that he possesses physically, mentally, and emotionally translate to the NFL? Is there room for improvement? Is there a “ceiling” so to speak?

          What is the situation of the program he’s in? Do they regularly produce NFL caliber players at his position?

          What is the biggest factor in said player’s success/failure? Is he someone who makes those around him better, or someone who benefits from the talent surrounding him?

          I’m not an NFL scout and will never claim to be one. But looking at numbers and saying “He’s in Peyton/Luck territory because of 26 TD’s and 0 INT” is silly and incomplete. It’s not fair to make that comparison so lightly.

      • Alex

        We probably watched different games…

        Whenever the D rushed 4 , Mariotta had forever to throw. Imo, the UW game was clearly won at the LOS. The Huskies had comparable skill position players, but they were just outmatched on both sides of the LOS.

        I’m guessing Wilcox played zone because he got burned early. Frankly, at a point, it was evident zone wouldn’t work. The problem was that he was simply prolonging the inevitable touchdown as Mariotta had receivers open by 7 plus yards from very soft zones.

        From my memory, a lot of the running yards came when the rush loses containment. The stupid thing is that if you’re in a zone, the D backs are supposed to be aware of the QB rushing. There is literally no excuse on behalf of the huskies to allow those rushing yards by the QB in zone. Those type of rushes are only supposed to occur when the D is playing man coverage whereby the dbacks eye is not on the QB.

  8. Brett

    I’m a Husky fan and Saturday was my first time watching Mariota in-depth and I came away very impressed. Even taking away his tremendous and unique assets like his mobility and overall straight line speed, he presented a calmness and poise that is usually only possessed by the best of the best. Geno, Manuel and the QB’s of last year did not/ do not have that IMHO. That poise translates very well to the next level which is why RW and Luck especially had such an early impact, obviously along with the more traditional and objective tools of the scouting community. I know he had no pressure the entire game on him (as a UW fan I really wish he did) but he isn’t going to have any the entire year except maybe against Stanford so that tape will be very telling.

    But along with the poise and athleticism, Mariota has tremendous arm talent that jumps off the tape, which Don has noted. The throw that really took my breath away was on a post route on I believe their last drive of the game after a penalty pushed them back deep in the corner of their end-zone and he threw an absolute bullet over 20 yards and a first down in between a cover 3 where only his receiver could get it, with almost any other QB its a pick there. It isn’t shown in the video above as it was late in the 4th with the game already out of reach.

    I watched Teddy this week too and I thought he would be a star coming out of high school but came away a little underwhelmed. It wasn’t his greatest game and he was missing Parker notwithstanding but he didn’t jump out as a number one overall pick to me, just not dynamic enough. Personally I would choose Mariota #1 over Teddy without a doubt in my mind.

    This is my first reply here and most importantly I want to thank you Rob for this tremendous site. You’re a first rate writer and display great analysis, I especially love how you match up talent that fits with the JS/PC talent model. You have a great eye for talent, way better than the so called draft experts out there, and that isn’t meant to be a knock on them but a complement to you. Also the community on here is great too, with Field Gulls and here the Seahawks sure seem to have some educated and knowledable fans! Stumbled across this site after the ATL loss and I’m sure glad I did.

  9. Aaron

    (Sorry this is off topic, but this is my Seahawks blog of choice and it’s the day before Game Day.)

    I’m surprised no one in the Seattle media has written about, or even mentioned, this week the circumstances under which Brian Schofield was released by the Cardinals, especially given the fact that he’ll likely get a lot of snaps due to Clemons’ injury.

    I think Schofield’s desire for revenge against his former team could be a real factor in tomorrow’s game, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see PC give Schofield more snaps than he normally would because of it.

    I clearly remember hearing Schofield talk about his unceremonious release from the Cardinals on 710 ESPN several weeks ago, and I’ve been keeping that in mind as this game has approached. Here’s an article with the details. You’ve got to check out the audio link to get the full perspective on this:

    • Rob Staton

      Great points Aaron and it is surprising nobody has picked up on it.

  10. Ben2

    I live in Eugene and went to U of O, and while I don’t watch a lot of college football or break down film, I have watched the ducks for years. I didn’t read the whole thread because the Luck/Mariota debate seemed a bit silly….Mariota reminds me more of Kaepernick (sp?). Height, speed, arm strength…..and while I don’t know either of those young men, Mariota seems to have better intangibles.

    • Kenny Sloth

      Mariota really lacks in the leadership category. Consistently his point of emphasis when asked what he’s been working on. But yeah. Nothing like luck. Everything like Kaep.

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