Marcus Mariota To The Jets? Examining The Pros & Cons

The Jets will have one of the first picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, and there are a lot of different areas they could choose to address. We’ll be examining the pros and cons of each potential selection, and today we'll take a close look at what Oregon QB Marcus Mariota would bring to the table.


The Jets have plenty of needs, but QB is the most glaring.

Out of every qualified starting quarterback, Geno Smith is 30th in completion percentage, 33rd in yards/attempt, and dead last (34th) in passer rating. We're now almost two full seasons into Smith's NFL career, and the improvement from year 1 to year 2 is barely noticeable (Smith has marginally improved his TD:INT ratio, but regressed in total QBR, yards per attempt, and yards per game). Smith has also displayed an alarming lack of self-awareness in the media, telling reporters that he's 'shown flashes of being a Pro Bowl quarterback' this season.

It's safe to say that Smith is not New York's QB of the future, and the franchise would do well to move on from him as quickly as possible. Unless he's already off the board, Mariota would be their best bet at addressing that need through the draft.

The Jets need someone fans can rally around

The biggest knock on Mariota right now? Apparently, he's too nice. After a series of quarterbacks who fans had trouble getting behind, they need a quarterback who can set an example on and off the field. At Oregon, Mariota has shown every sign that he can be that guy.

You've probably heard of the guy he gets compared to most

Coaches, scouts and NFL executives typically bring up the same name when talking about Mariota's closest NFL comparison...another Pac-12 product named Aaron Rodgers. While Mariota uses his feet a bit more often than Rodgers at the college level, he has the size, mobility and precision to emulate the former Cal star in the big leagues. This isn't to say he'll automatically be as good as Rodgers - far from it - but that comparison certainly can't be a bad thing.


The curse of the Heisman-winning Quarterbacks

Here's a list of NFL QBs to win the Heisman since 2003:

- Jason White (undrafted, no career starts)

- Matt Leinart (free agent, threw 15 career TDs and 21 INTs)

- Troy Smith (free agent, last played in the CFL after five unsuccessful NFL seasons)

- Tim Tebow (free agent, out of the NFL after 14 career starts)

- Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams QB, torn ACL twice in last two seasons)

- Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers QB, only member of this list to stay reasonably healthy & successful)

- Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins QB, has regressed significantly since rookie season)

- Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns QB, too early to call...but not off to a great start)

If Mariota becomes an NFL success, he'll be one of the rare exceptions on this very strange list.

He doesn't have everyone convinced...

ESPN's Mel Kiper raised some eyebrows recently when he went on the record saying he didn't think there were any franchise quarterbacks in the 2015 draft. Kiper certainly isn't the last word on NFL scouting, but his opinion does carry some weight.

“He’s not Andrew Luck. He’s not in that elite of elite category," Kiper said. "Could he be really good? If you’re patient with him, if you wait and let him evolve, and we don’t write him off as a bust early on, then you’re fine.”

Oregon's system doesn't produce star NFL quarterbacks

The Ducks haven't produced a legitimate NFL star at QB since Dan Fouts in 1972, and the results in recent years have been even worse - Kellen Clemens, Joey Harrington and Akili Smith have all flamed out after disappointing careers. All three saw their draft stock rise after impressive college seasons, only to fail to replicate that success in the NFL. There are plenty of doubters who think Mariota's success has been the result of his system, not his ability...and he'll have to excel as a pro to prove them wrong.

Do you think the Jets should draft Marcus Mariota? Let us know in the comments section!

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