Ken Whisenhunt added to the Marcus Mariota drama this week in Phoenix, Arizona. As many of us know, many different trade scenarios during the 2015 NFL Draft center around the University of Oregon quarterback, his skills, and the love affair that Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has with his former starting quarterback.
For teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, having Marcus Mariota off the board at two overall would throw a wrench in any number of plans. It’s certainly possible with the Tennessee Titans not having a clear answer at quarterback despite a promising showing from 2014 sixth rounder Zach Mettenberger last season. Whisenhunt, head coach of the Titans, may have hinted toward an early end to the Mettenberger era by saying:
"If (Marcus Mariota) comes to us at No. 2, he’s definitely going to be the Day 1 starter."
Conor Orr at NFL.com brings the quote to us but to be clear he isn’t saying that Mariota will be the pick. For all we know, he’s just driving up feigned interest in the quarterback so teams like the Eagles (who say they don’t want him) will be more interested in leap-frogging the entire draft for him. Even if Whisenhunt and the Titans do want Marcus Mariota, it’s a smart move as it puts a smokescreen (that all too common tactic heading toward the NFL Draft) over what the Titans may actually be thinking.
The most interesting part of the words used is the “comes to us at No. 2.” It’s stated as if Mariota won’t make it past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at number one overall (they are expected to pick quarterback Jameis Winston at that spot). It’s expected that Mariota will make it to the Titans, the big question is whether or not they want him. Whisenhunt knows the value of a top quarterback and he’s probably a good judge after his time in the league. Whisenhunt didn’t seem completely sold though, saying, “we’re still in the process of evaluating. We like what we’ve seen so far, he’s a talented player.”
With so many intriguing possibilities at the top of the draft, the Titans seem to be holding a lot of the cards. It will be interesting to see if they take Marcus Mariota and throw a wrench in so many other teams’ plans.
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