Mayock: Mariota’s a Projection Unless Chip Lands Him

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock talked to Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic Friday, and he isn’t too smitten with this year’s QB class.

“It’s not a real good quarterback draft,” Mayock said. “You’ve got two quarterbacks that are head-and-shoulders above everyone else, and even they have their own holes. One on the field and one off the field.

[Jameis] Winston, I really like everything I see about him on the field because you can see him throw with anticipation, you can see him in the pocket, you can see all the things you want. But off the field, I’m scared to death of him.”

The conversation quickly shifted to Marcus Mariota.

“Mariota is the opposite,” Mayock said. “First guy in the building everyday, all those kinds of things. No problems off the field. But for everyone but Chip Kelly, he’s a projection because of the type of offense he runs.

“From a physical trait perspective, he has everything you want. He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s got great feet, and he’s got a live arm. So on the surface, the individual components all work. The problem is he’s a projection coming to the next level because of the pocket awareness, the progressions and the reads.”

Mayock noted that he’s only studied three of Mariota’s games so far. But against Arizona and Stanford, he thought Mariota had issues with accuracy.

“The second piece is the pocket awareness piece,” he said. “I think he’s inconsistent. There’s some full-field reads. I think he tucks the ball down and runs early, and the problem is right there. You can’t kill a kid for using his legs to win games. That’s what he’s supposed to do, that’s what he’s coached to do. So you can’t kill him for it because he’s doing all the right things. But it does become a projection as to whether he can do what his coach in the NFL’s gonna tell him to do.

“I want to buy into Marcus Mariota. He’s clean, there’s no off-the-field issues. I love all the individual components. I’m not sure watching every single snap is going to help me determine whether or not he can progress or project into an NFL team or not. It’s really hard.”

But how hard should Kelly pursue Mariota? What price would be too high for the Heisman winner?

“If you take the assumption that you can’t win a Super Bowl without a ‘franchise quarterback’ and in modern football history, who has won Super Bowls without one? Maybe Baltimore with [Trent] Dilfer and maybe Tampa Bay with Brad Johnson? And you could say maybe Nick Foles is like one of those two guys. But those two guys had two of the best defenses in the history of the NFL.

“So if you can’t win a Super Bowl without a franchise quarterback, and there’s only 10 or 11 franchise quarterbacks at most in our league today, then you better beg, borrow or steal and figure out a way to get one if you don’t think you have one. …If the Eagles think he’s the guy and that they can win a Super Bowl with Marcus Mariota, given people around him and a good defense, then I think they have to try and go get him.”

There’s also the theory of waiting on a quarterback and trying to get one after the first round. But Mayock said he doesn’t even know who the third quarterback off the board is going to be.

“I don’t like anybody there,” Mayock said. “There’s an average of only about 12 quarterbacks drafted a year, and only about five on average go in the first three rounds. I’m not sure if I’ll even have a second- or third-round grade on another guy by the time I get done. I think the guy that’s a little bit intriguing is Brett Hundley from UCLA. He’s a big, strong kid. He’s got a good arm. He is athletic. But he’s inconsistent from an accuracy standpoint, he’s not as comfortable in the pocket, and I question his decision-making.”

Tucker Bagley is a Temple student and an intern at Birds 24/7.

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