The NFL Draft is about a month away and between now and April 30th there are going to be a lot of statements and proclamations made about how much certain teams like certain players.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Call it the game within the draft game, call it posturing, call it gamesmanship, but it all comes with this part of the NFL calendar and especially when it pertains to the biggest prizes in a given draft.
Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt has been a huge part of the NFL Draft rhetoric because the Titans hold the No.2 pick in the draft.
Last week, during the NFL meetings in Arizona, Whisenhunt at the AFC coaches/media breakfast was asked a bunch of questions about Heisman Trophy winning quarterback prospect Marcus Mariota.
Whisehunt virtually said that if Mariota was taken with the second pick of the draft, that he would be the Tennessee Titans starting QB.
“You talk about taking a quarterback at the first or second pick, you’re probably going to play that guy. He’s done a nice job in the time I’ve spent with him. We spent time with him in the classroom. We worked him out. He exhibits a lot of the qualities that successful quarterbacks have. He doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, is accurate when he throws it, can extend the play. His team gravitates toward him, you can see that. He has a lot of those things that those quarterbacks who have been successful in the league have.”
Okay, well he did not necessarily say that the pick was in and Mariota was going to be under center for the Titans, but he did give enough of an endorsement to where if a team picking after Tennessee was dead set on grabbing Mariota, they are going to have to come with a pretty nice package in order to snag him.
Everyone is convinced it is a foregone conclusion that Jameis Winston is locked in as the No.1 pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at this point.
So all NFL eyes have been on what the Titans are going to do at No.2.
Whisenhunt being the Georgia Tech educated man that he is knows that his team has more issues to worry about than who his signal caller will be.
He also knows that Marcus Mariota is not necessarily the ideal choice to be his QB, regardless of what he said at the NFL meetings.
Mariota is a creation of new age college offensive football. Spread systems in the college game have not produced the best quarterbacks when it comes to the NFL.
Think about any quarterback that you have seen come out of Texas Tech.
Think about people like Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel who the juries are pretty much decided on already.
Spread offenses don’t really produce pro ready quarterbacks because those types of quarterbacks don’t spend time under center often, have not executed three, five, and seven step drops often, and don’t really have to command a huddle.
Though Mariota had major success in the college game, and has the arm talent to potentially be a solid NFL QB, his craft was forged in a nontraditional offense, and his allure as far as the pros are more about his intangibles.
No one is saying that Mariota can’t buck the trend and be a solid NFL QB, but precedent says that quarterbacks who played in a college spread offense like Oregon’s instead of a pro style offense like Jameis Winston played in with Florida State, don’t translate to the NFL too well.
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So with all that being said, we truly don’t know if Whisenhunt’s intentions behind hyping up how he feels about Marcus Mariota is because he wants to increase the value of his draft position, or if he genuinely feels the way he does about the quarterback prospect.
All we do know is this, drafting players is like gambling, it is an educated guess. The posturing for the draft is going to intensify in the coming weeks.
So can we really believe what our eyes see and ears hear from coaches and execs right now?