Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has been the consensus No. 1 prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft since the season started.
With four months to go, the NFL Draft cycle hasn’t even kicked into high gear yet, but there already signs that a Mariota backlash is on the way.
The most farcical Mariota nitpicking comes from an anonymous NFL scout who spoke to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
“Speaking to scouts, expect to see Mariota’s four games in Nov. ’13 to be a focus in the spring,” he tweeted. “Mariota hurt his knee on 10/26/13. And with his wheels, and the option game, limited over the next month, he struggled as a passer.”
Breer is referring to a stretch where Mariota played with a torn meniscus in his knee at the end of the 2013 season.
That’s right, scouts are criticising Marcus Mariota because he wasn’t as good when he tore his meniscus.
Some more concrete criticism comes from Trent Dilfer, the ESPN analyst who’s also plugged into the collegiate quarterback development world through his involvement in the Elite 11 camp.
Dilfer told the ESPN radio station 97.5 in Philadelphia that he’s not really high on Mariota:
“I personally don’t think Marcus is a pro-ready quarterback. I don’t think he’s a guy that can play right away. I think he’s a guy that has to sit for a year or two, learn an NFL system. I think as this process goes on you’re going to see Marcus Mariota’s stock drop a little bit because he is not pro-ready.
“He’s a phenomenal talent. He’s a great kid. But he’s not ready to play in a traditional system.”
Dilfer said he could see him dropping into the “early teens,” where a team like the Eagles could have a chance to trade up and get him.
Former scout Bucky Brooks wrote a big article on NFL.com where he declared that Jameis Winston was the top QB prospect in the draft, not Mariota.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com added this:
I’ve had multiple texts from personnel guys with the same message: “I feel bad for teams in the top 5 looking for a QB.”
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 5, 2015
With a bunch of teams in the top 10 in need of a quarterback, this will be something to keep an eye on.
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