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Possessing the prototype size for a quarterback, Marcus Mariota stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 222 pounds. He ran the fastest forty among quarterbacks at the NFL scouting combine, clocking in with a 4.52. He displays outstanding escape ability within the pocket, and does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield. As a runner, he accelerates well around the edge and has the power to break tackles in the open field. He was less reckless following a knee injury in 2013, showing a good understanding of when to give himself up and when to fight for extra yardage. Additionally, he proved his toughness to coaches and teammates by playing through that injury. He demonstrates high-level arm strength and accuracy. He can make every throw on the field, often times throwing into tight windows with superb velocity. His decision-making is great. He threw just 14 interceptions in 41 college starts. He seldom comes across as rattled; his demeanor is always calm. His coaches and teammates have routinely reaped praise on him, citing his attitude and keen football mind as positive off-field attributes.
Sometimes he abandons the pocket when he doesn’t need to. Coaches will prefer to see him step up into the pocket and deliver his throws. His 2013 knee injury hindered his scrambling ability, and his production tailored off. Does he depend too much on his legs? Because he played in a spread offense, his footwork is a work in progress. His drop back looked smooth at the combine, but it remains to be seen if he can perfect it in a game-like atmosphere. He has no experience in a pro offense, and will have to learn to go through his progressions.
Mariota brings a rare combination of athleticism, size and poise to the position. His characteristics make him a cross between Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Seattle’s Russell Wilson. In many ways, he is the prospect Wilson would’ve been in the 2012 draft had the Seattle quarterback stood 6-foot-4 instead of 5-foot-11. A bona fide top 10 pick, Mariota’s on-field skill set suggests he will develop into a franchise quarterback.