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Draft Prospect Profile: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota


Marcus Mariota can't shake the tag of being a "system" quarterback. But that's not an altogether bad circumstance when an increasing number of NFL offenses run systems that incorporate concepts at which he flourished during his years at Oregon.

But Mariota's athleticism, ability to fire accurate, strong passes when on the move or off-balance and preternatural feel for an oncoming pass rush help push him to the early selections of the first round.

His adjustment will be rough, as he will not have the benefit of Oregon's schematic, size and speed advantage over most of its foes. He will have to throw through narrower windows than he did at Oregon, and will need to learn to trust his accuracy and his intended targets in tight coverage short and down the seams.

Mariota will also need to learn to go through his progressions; at Oregon, he had the luxury of making one read, and making a quick commitment to a pass or a scramble. Although his 4.52 speed will ensure that he makes some explosive plays on the ground, no team will want him to run often enough to where he approaches the 15 touchdown runs he racked up last year.

He also needs to curb his fumbles; he had seven last season, pushing his career total to 27. But if he runs the football less often, this shouldn't be an issue.



To better adapt to NFL play-calling, Mariota worked with private quarterbacking tutor Kevin O'Connell in January and February before O'Connell became the Browns' quarterbacks coach on Feb. 17. O'Connell ran Mariota's Pro Day workout March 12.

"He's given me a play sheet and at night he tells me to read the play calls out loud," Mariota said at the Combine. "That's something little, but as this process goes, it's going to help me with whatever team I get to in terms of just speaking in the huddle and articulating the plays."

Mariota hasn't made calls in the huddle since high school.

"It seems like a little detail, but that is kind of a big thing," Mariota said. "There's other things as well. Three-, five-, seven-step drops under center. That's all stuff I've been able to work on (since January)."


Weight:222 pounds
Arm:32 inches (T-7th among 15 Combine QBs)
Hand:9 7/8 inches (5th among 15 Combine QBs)
40-yard dash:4.52 seconds (1st among 13 Combine QBs)
Vertical jump:36 inches (T-3rd among 13 Combine QBs)
Broad jump:10 feet, 1 inch (T-3rd among 13 Combine QBs)
Three-cone drill:6.87 seconds (1st among 12 Combine QBs)
Short shuttle:4.11 seconds (3rd among 12 Combine QBs)

PROJECTION:First seven overall picks.

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