The Tennessee Titans selected Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft last night. Multiple teams tried to acquire the second pick from the Titans, but they simply weren’t willing to part with it. Chip Kelly did everything he could to bring Mariota to Philadelphia, but the Titans decided to build their future around him instead.
Now the question becomes, can Mariota be the franchise quarterback that helps turn the Titans back into legitimate playoff contenders?
Quite simply, the answer to that question is that Mariota is more than capable of leading the Titans back towards the playoffs. He’ll have a learning curve as any other draft prospect would have, but it won’t take long for him to begin learning the game. Tennessee has quite a bit more work to do before they reach the talent level that will be necessary to reach the playoffs, but finally having a legitimate franchise caliber quarterback is the first step in that journey.
Mariota showed an excellent decision-making ability during his college career at Oregon. He threw just 14 interceptions in his three seasons, and also threw for 10,796 yards and 105 touchdowns. Rookie quarterbacks always have issues learning the speed of the NFL game, but Mariota is at an advantage due to his talent above the shoulders.
There aren’t many quarterbacks that have a passion for the game and the type of work ethic that Mariota ha shown. He is a true student of the game, and that mentality can always make a good player great.
Tennessee still needs to bring in another wide receiver or two before they have enough weapons for their new quarterback. Justin Hunter and Harry Douglas are the top two receivers currently on the roster, while Delanie Walker is going to be a nice target at the tight end position. There are still quite a few wide receivers that the Titans could snag in the NFL Draft, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of their remaining picks on a receiver.
Another area of concern for the Titans’ offense is at the running back position. Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey aren’t likely to become workhorse, every down running backs. That is something that the Titans can also fix later in this years draft.
It is going to be very entertaining to watch Mariota grow throughout his first NFL season. He will go through some ups and downs, but as long as he keeps his head up and mind clear at all times he will be just fine.
Needless to say, the Titans have finally taken the huge step to turning their franchise around. They have bounced around from quarterback to quarterback for too long, and now they finally have their guy long-term. Expect to see the Titans slowly start working their way back towards playoff contention starting this season with Mariota leading the way.