After the crab leg monster was selected number one overall, the Titans did what everyone thought they were going to do, and drafted Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick. While he doesn’t have the physical attributes of Jameis Winston, he still fits well with Tennessee.
How Is the Fit?
While it may take a while to transition from the Oregon offense to a more NFL style passing offense in Tennessee, once Mariota gets some reps under his belt this season, he is going to be a good NFL QB. Unlike the Bucs, who have defensive oriented, Lovie Smith running the show, Mariota gets the benefit of learning under an offensive guru as a head coach, in Ken Whisenhunt. This alone gives Mariota an advantage over Winston, and while Winston’s game may be more NFL ready right now, Mariota has the better coach.
NFL odds makers saw that Whisenhunt threw the ball a lot last season, but it was mostly out of necessity. He had three different starting quarterbacks last season, and all three of them were lackluster to say the least. Plus, Bishop Sankey, the young running back who was supposed to ease the load on the Titan QBs didn’t really pan out, and it left Whisenhunt and the coaches no choice but to throw the ball. The Titans put the ball in the air over 500 times last season, but only ran the ball 356 times. However event thought hey threw the ball a ton, they were still very low in passing offense.
But Whisenhunt is no fool. He knows it’s going to take some innovative play calling to help Mariotta in his first year or so, of which he has already been named the starter over Zach Mettenberger. Whisenhunt is already on record saying he has started tweaking his playbook to fit Mariota, and while I doubt Mariota will turn into an impressive pocket passer in his first season, Whisenhunt knows he will have to use his speed and illusiveness if he wants to win more than four games this season and compete in the AFC South.
However the stories about Mariota to the Titans have really downplayed what he did in his junior year at Oregon. He threw for an amazing 4454 yards, 42 touchdowns and only four picks. He also ran the ball 132 times for 770 yards and 15 more touchdowns. This was more than enough to win the Heisman, and even if he were to just do half of that in his first season in the NFL, I think you have to label him a success.
The only problem with Mariota and his rookie season is that he has very little weapons to help him out. Those who place NFL picks know that the Titans were able to sign Harry Douglas away from the Falcons during free agency, which will really help, and the emergence of Delanie Walker will be huge for the development of Mariota. They also were able to snag Dorial Green-Beckham in the draft, and if he pans out in the NFL, the Titans’ passing offense will be looking up for the future.
However the running game is still in question for this team. As we learned with RG3 running the ball a ton as a QB might shorten your career, and with only Bishop Sankey and Shonn Greene on the roster, the Titans are going to have to find a running game to help out Mariota before I start to make any rookie of the year predictions.