NFL Combine 2015: How Did Marcus Mariota Help His Draft Stock?
The best and worst thing that could have happened to Marcus Mariota last weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine was someone said Jameis Winston had a weak throwing shoulder.
With all the negative publicity this season, the accusations of off field issues and the fact the Oregon Ducks beat the hell out of FSU in the semi-finals of the College Football Playoff championship, Winston went out and slung the football around Lucas Oil Stadium like it was sandlot football.
Nothing Mariota, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner did in his Saturday workout was bad, in fact it was highly impressive. The problem existed because Winston, sans a 40-yard sprint, was better than his competitor.
Mariota may have won the battle with scouts and team general managers over whether he was the top pro prospect many websites had him listed as, but for now, the FSU stud won the war. Is this a sign of things to come, a rivalry already started before each hears his name called by the NFL commissioner on Draft night?
I for one sure hope so.
Prior to his performance and workout in Indianapolis, Mariota told the Washington Post he believes he can be a top-flight passer on the next level. The story, written for the February 20th edition of the washingtonpost.com, said Mariota met with reporters Thursday afternoon. The quarterback with whom Mariota apparently is vying to be the NFL draft’s top overall selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jameis Winston of Florida State, met with the media Friday.
Mariota had not yet met with the Buccaneers at the combine, yet. He said he had met with a Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach but not with the team’s head coach, Chip Kelly, who formerly coached Mariota at Oregon.
The Eagles and Cleveland Browns reportedly could be interested in trading up for Mariota. Kevin O’Connell oversaw Mariota’s pre-draft training until being hired last week as the Browns’ quarterbacks coach. Mariota also has spent some time training, he said, with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Mariota said he was doing his best not to concern himself with matters such as which team will select him or whether he will be the draft’s top choice.
But if he isn’t the one talking about it, we all know the media and the social media boards across the country are doing their share to make keep the topic alive and well. There are 66 days until the first night of the NFL Draft, if you were wondering.
Right now, Mariota is ranked as the third best prospect on the big board, according to CBSsports.com. And with his performance last weekend, which included a solid 40-yard dash time, which bested Winston’s – which wasn’t even close – the questions will persist if Mariota is a quarterback who can play in the pocket, line up behind center and command a huddle, which he has not had to do since his days in high school.
With the success he did enjoy at the Combine and given the fact he was able to close some of the gap between himself and Winston, any team who thinks Mariota may not be able to improve his game to get consideration for the top overall pick in April, might be making a huge mistake.
Mariota took a giant step forward in many scouts’ eyes. A step back is highly unlikely.