Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
Weight: 222 lbs.
Birthday: October 30, 1993 (21 years old)
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Year: Redshirt Junior
STRENGTHS: Often lauded for his intelligence, humility and work ethic. Effortless arm strength to zip the ball up and down the field and his gazelle-like athleticism to out-run defenders.
Does an excellent job of dancing his way out of pressure while keeping his eyes downfield. Quick release and flashes deadly accuracy, including when on the move. Very strong arm and isn't afraid to make challenging throws through tight windows. Shows good touch to loft passes over defenders down the seam or to backs and receivers on quick swing passes.
Puts extreme pressure on the defense because of his scrambling ability. He offers rare straight-line speed, making him a legitimate threat for a big play via his arms or legs on every snap.
WEAKNESSES: The Ducks' innovative offense simplifies QB decisions and this is roughly the same scheme Mariota played in high school. As such, some of the basics like taking the ball from under center and scanning downfield while dropping back are skills Mariota hasn't been asked to master yet.
Overly reliant on his first read, and occasionally commits the cardinal sin of throwing late across his body. Accuracy can be an issue, as Mariota misses too many open receivers, including high-percentage underneath passes.
Mental Makeup - 2 - Highly competitive and even-keeled player who rarely seems rattled on tape. Benefits from spread, uptempo attack that simplifies reads and creates bigger throwing windows. However, has been a very sound decision-maker throughout his first two years as a starter (63-to-10 TD-to-INT ratio). Still will occasionally take unnecessary risks at times with late throws he should not make. More decisive in 2013. Faster eyes scanning the field and showed a big improvement last year working the entire field while getting to his third and sometimes fourth option with more consistency than in 2012. Physically and mentally tough, and has shown the 'over-my-dead-body' mentality. Flashes the ability to bounce back from adversity (see fourth-quarter comeback against Oregon State in 2013 after two bad INTs earlier in the contest).
Accuracy - 2 - Biggest area of improvement from 2012. Better mechanics and overall balance as a thrower. Feet are married to eyes and stepping to his target with more consistency, and ball placement has improved as a result. This has helped lead his receivers to yards after catch. Good tempo and shows ability to change up ball speeds and projection required to attack the middle of the field. Also has improved anticipation but still has room to improve in this area. Has a unique ability to deliver accurate throw on the run or from an unbalanced platform. Improved deep-ball projection and overall accuracy.
Release/Arm Strength - 2 - Quick, compact over-the-shoulder release. Smooth stroke. Height and high release point eases concerns about tipped balls at the line of scrimmage. Frame appeared bigger in 2013. Threw with noticeably more velocity and finished with more energy. Arm strength is well above average and can make all the NFL throws.
Pocket Mobility - 1 - Dynamic athlete who has the ability to put stress on a defense with his mobility (both as a thrower and a runner). Very good body control and balance when evading pressure and has excellent escape ability. Natural improvisational instincts when working off schedule. Above-average elusiveness and has rare straight line-play speed. Has a very similar running style to Colin Kaepernick in terms of stride length and deceiving straight-line speed to ruin pursuit angles. Also took a step in terms of pocket awareness in 2013. Still will occasionally vacate a clean pocket at times, but appeared more comfortable and showed improved patience versus the rush, avoiding to slide/climb within the pocket and work through progressions. Needs to show better overall ball security and utilize off hand better both in the pocket and as runner. Often has a loose ball carriage and will dangle ball away from frame.
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