Wondering whether or not Tom Telesco has the name “Marcus Mariota” inked on the white board for draft day? Let’s take a look at what his being on the Chargers roster could provide.
Weight: 218 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds
Marcus Mariota is currently projected as one of the top-two quarterbacks entering the 2015 draft. While at the University of Oregon, he primarily worked out of the shotgun formation. The shotgun formation is one that Philip Rivers likes and the Bolts presently utilize most. Combined with his ability to run for yards, the former Oregon Ducks quarterback could be a dual-threat in San Diego’s offense for many years to come. His speed will be something that defenses will need to take into account, as it helps him escape from the pocket.
In his 41-game college career, Mariota threw for 10,796 yards, and had a touchdown to interception ratio of 105:14. For his final season, he had 4,454 yards passing with four picks and 42 touchdowns (a 68.3 completion percentage), while leading the Ducks to a 12-1 record in 2014. Additionally, he rushed 117 times for 669 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Regardless of what team drafts Mariota, he will most likely need to sit behind a veteran QB for a bit while he learns to better read defensive schemes, identify pre-snap blitzes and recognize when he should step up into the pocket rather than attempt to escape from it.
The NFL comparison for Mariota is Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. They are of similar stature, though at 233 pounds and almost 6’5″, Kaepernick is a bit bigger. Even their college statistics are comparable, despite the Niners’ signal caller having more rushes (600), yards (4,112), and touchdowns (59) over four years of collegiate play versus Mariota, who is entering the draft as a junior.
Three of Mariota’s many awards in 2014 were the Heisman Trophy, the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year and being chosen as the Offensive MVP of the 2015 Rose Bowl. He was the first player from the University of Oregon to win the Heisman trophy.
It will be interesting to learn if or when he fits into the big picture for Telesco and company. What do you want to see happen? Please leave your comment below.
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Even though the 2015 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, college prospects are still very busy visiting numerous clubs around the league.
There are many reasons as to why players visit NFL teams. Some team’s motives are intended to be a distraction, but others are exactly what many would assume they would be for – to visit a team that plans to select them in the draft.
So far, the Chargers have had eight pre-draft visits; including projected first rounder, Marcus Mariota from Oregon. Pump the breaks, though. What exactly does that mean to Bolt fans? Nothing.
Pre-draft visits are overrated, and here’s why.
A missed opportunity at the scouting combine
The NFL combine was established for college football players to perform various tests in front of league coaches, general managers and scouts. During the event, staffs attempt to preview every player on their radar. Yet, they don’t have the opportunity to run them through team-specific drills, ones that fit their team’s scheme. That being said, teams will have their players of interest visit before the draft, in order to gain a better understanding of each player on a one-on-one basis.
It is well-known that all college players do not get drafted. In fact, out of roughly 3,500 men, only about 250 are drafted. For the remaining players, they start their search for a job. However, there are players who are picked up right away as rookie free agents; ones that had previously conducted a pre-draft visit with that same team. For example, defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe had a pre-draft visit in 2014. That year, he went undrafted and was swiftly picked up and signed by San Diego. Pre-draft visits are not solely scheduled for individuals that NFL teams plan on being drafted.
The NFL is a business, and those in back office operations have to continuously play a game of poker. It’s almost like wearing sunglasses at a poker table. There are some general managers that do not want many people knowing who they plan to draft. So they schedule pre-draft visits with players that they truly have no interest in. Sneaky? Absolutely. And it is far more common than the casual fan would think.
Behind the scenes communication
Just because a player hasn’t visited a team for a private session, doesn’t mean that the club hasn’t been in contact with him. With advanced technology, communicating is now the easiest it’s ever been. Voice calling, text messaging, even Skyping are all ways coaches can converse with their college prospects. If you’re worried that your favorite draftees haven’t visited the Bolts yet, then you may want to reconsider the conditions.
Since a lot players that are drafted come from the same schools, it’s possible that a team will host a player just to obtain information on one of his teammates. The Bolts brought in offensive tackle D.J. Humphries of Florida, yet he is also the teammate of outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., who had an impressive showing at this year’s combine. Even with San Diego needing a legitimate tackle to solidify the offensive line, they do have some gaps to fill at the linebacker position. It’s very possible that Fowlers’ name came up a few times during Humphries’ visit. That’s not to say this was the case, but it is surely a possibility.
Overall, pre-draft visits do not always indicate what they imply. College players are visiting as many teams as they can before draft day. Additionally, one should not get worked up about Mariota working out with Philip Rivers in America’s finest city. All rumors aside, teams already have a good indication of whom they would like to take with their picks this year, and these pre-draft visits are just the cherry on top.
Let’s face it, the Chargers secondary is still a work in progress. Yes, Tom Telesco drafted stud cornerback Jason Verrett last year and quickly swooped up veteran Brandon Flowers after being released from divisional opponent the Kansas City Chiefs. However, that still isn’t enough.
As we are quickly approaching the NFL’s 2015 Draft, there are many players worth looking at. The Bolts’ needs are plentiful this offseason, but building the secondary cannot be overlooked. That’s when you draft and bring in a cornerback like Marcus Peters.
Projected 40-Yard Dash: 4.55
*All Pre-Combine unofficial estimates
Many of you are probably already thinking, “too much baggage”. Well, perhaps you’re right. Peters was kicked off Washington’s squad for multiple run-ins and arguments with the coaching staff. Yet, the NFL is a whole new ballpark. In order to pay the bills, men tend to clean up their acts for an opportunity they have dreamed of since they could remember.
Prior to Peters’ sideline issues, he was projected to be drafted in the first round, according to multiple sources. With great size and physicality against receivers, he would add some grit to the secondary unit.
As a cornerback in the Pac-12 conference, Peters has had some respectable matchups. He had a solid performance against Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong. Other notable games were against Stanford and UCLA. Most importantly, his pass coverage was incredible against Oregon’s crafty receiving unit.
Let’s not forget that this guy can hit. His tackling ability is impressive which all Bolts fans should know has been lackluster. His attitude is much like Verrett – confident and assertive. The rawness he possesses is something that San Diego’s coaching staff can take and groom into a very legitimate addition to the depth chart, or dare I say, possible starter.
This is the type of guy that needs some tweaking, but that’s perfect for a player with a decreased draft stock resulting from a sideline temper tantrum. He could easily be a solid pick if he slips to the second round. Depending on his combine performance and how well his interviews go, Telesco should consider another steal this year.