All good things must come to an end.
For the Oregon Ducks, this means they will soon need to play without their star quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is destined to play football at the professional level as soon as 2015.
Quarterbacks are always a hot commodity, especially in the first round, because some teams need a quick remodel. The quarterback position is usually a solid place to start, and selecting Mariota to lead a team to the promised land is not a bad choice at all.
His college career did not have a humble beginning. His statistics immediately jumped off the page, with more than 30 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons, and a combined total of 10 interceptions during those two years. He also ran for nine touchdowns last season, proving he is a mobile threat when he moves outside of the pocket.
Plenty of teams could be, and should be, vying for Mariota by the time the 2015 NFL Draft begins. While it is almost impossible to predict the order in which the teams will draft next year, it is possible to postulate where Mariota could end up if a team sits in the right spot in the draft.
Mariota will likely be a first-round pick with his talent. Also, NFL teams seem to draft quarterbacks often with the very first pick in the draft. Although in 2013 and 2014, players at other positions were taken with the No. 1 overall pick, teams have selected quarterbacks in spurts throughout recent history. A quarterback was chosen in four consecutive years from 2009-2012, and from 2001-2005, the man under center was taken first overall. In other words, taking non-quarterbacks with the first overall pick does not happen often, and when it does, it doesn’t last for long.
The first pick is so important because it is almost always spent on a player who is expected to change the course of a struggling franchise. That player is paid a large amount of money to become the face of a team trying to make a fresh start. Mariota is the type of player who fits that bill, and is a quarterback who can change a team for the better without much risk at all.
Mariota has led a premier Ducks program to a 23-3 overall record during his two years there. He simply knows how to win. If Mariota can put up similar statistics to those of his first two seasons, and if he can also lead the Ducks to another dominant record, he will be the top pick in the upcoming draft.
Teams like Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Oakland have had trouble finding a consistent quarterback who plays like a star. Those teams are the ones who could finish at the bottom of the standings this season and therefore would possibly have the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. Teams who want to upgrade at the quarterback position or find a suitable backup to their superstar passer should consider trading for a higher pick to snatch Mariota away from others.
Overall, Mariota is the type of quarterback who will not fall to the later rounds because of his incredible ability in multiple facets of the game. If he is not selected first overall, it is unlikely he will slip past the tenth pick. Any team would be wise to choose him, and it’s just a matter of the draft order that will determine which of the first ten teams needs him most.