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"I don't understand why [Oregon QB Marcus Mariota] isn't the No. 1 player in this draft on Mel Kiper's Big Board," said ESPN NFL Insider Jon Gruden.

"I don't know anybody in this draft that can do for a football team what Mariota can do," Gruden said. "He can read the field. That whole thing about Oregon being a no-huddle, dive-option team, that is just a narrative resulting from a lack of information. The Ducks run a lot of pro-style concepts. Mariota does a lot with the protections. I've seen him throw the ball with touch and timing in tight windows." The former Bucs coach points out that Mariota is the same size as Jameis Winston but runs 4.52 forty. "He is incredibly elusive, and man, is he a playmaker and a great competitor," Gruden said. "I see him functioning in the pocket, out of the pocket, and if you want to run a zone-read, he'll rip the defense apart. He is like Russell Wilson, only he is 6-4."
Apr 28 - 12:57 AM

An anonymous NFL scout called Oregon DL Arik Armstead a "great athlete" who is nonetheless "overrated" because he "plays when he wants to play."

"If you're going to make him a 5-technique (DE in a 3-4) he's an obstacle," a different scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He will lay out to make plays. It's not every down, but when he gets in the league I suspect it will be every down. You've got to harness his talent. It's not ready-made." Armstead had 87 tackles (10 for loss) and only four sacks in college, stats not even close to his ability level. At the combine, he logged a 5.10-second 40-yard dash, 24 bench reps, a 34-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-9 broad jump and a 4.53-second short shuttle. "Physical and strong," a second scout said. "Plays high. Has some lapses in his play. Power type rusher. Pretty good athlete."
Apr 27 - 11:55 PM

An NFL scout said he "would much rather have" Oregon QB Marcus Mariota than FSU's Jameis Winston because "at least you're going to get the best he has all the time."

"He's got the athletic ability to be an all-time great," another scout said. "He's like a better Colin Kaepernick," said a third. Mariota was stupidly productive in school, going 36-5 with a 121.3 passer rating and 2,237 rushing yards. "Ben (Roethlisberger) took everything in shotgun at Miami (Ohio), too," a fourth scout said. "He doesn't have Ben's arm. I do like a lot of things he brings to the table. But that running thing in the NFL? The guy (Griffin III) who plays for the Redskins found out that doesn't work."
Apr 27 - 11:24 PM

The MMQB's Peter King believes the Titans will select Oregon QB Marcus Mariota at No. 2 if they do not trade the pick.

In terms of trade discussions, one GM of a top 10 team told King "Tuesday or Wednesday is when those calls are made, the serious calls." What is really being said is: no one knows what is going to happen beyond the Bucs selecting a quarterback at No. 1. We would not look at the Titans winding up with Marcus Mariota as a consolation prize. Not even close.
Source: The MMQB
Apr 27 - 9:12 AM

Oregon CB Troy Hill "could wind up being the best pro in a cornerback class that has plenty of question marks from the top down," according to Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus.

"Hill's off-field issues will drop him farther down draft boards, but on the field his talent shines through," McGuiness wrote. "He's not the biggest cornerback in the class, but he opens his hips well and runs smoothly, with a good feel for where the receiver is. Reacting quickly to come up and make tackles, he looks best-suited as a zone corner, but he was more than capable in man coverage during his time at Oregon as well." In fact, Hill ranked tied for No. 12 in this draft class by allowing only 0.78 yards per coverage snap. The former Duck, who spent his career in Ifo Ekpre-Olomu's shadow, could prove to be a nice Day 3 find.
Source: ESPN.com
Apr 27 - 12:30 AM

An anonymous NFL scout told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that if he's "just going center I'm going to go [Oregon C Hroniss Grasu]."

"He's smart (Wonderlic of 28) and tough," said another scout. "He's athletic. He played in that spread attack so he can fit in a zone scheme. He's not as heavy as you want him to be to deal with nose tackles all day but he has the athletic ability to compete in a zone offense." Grasu was a four-year starter. He missed three games last year with a leg injury, but we haven't heard any negative medical reports regarding that malady.
Apr 26 - 9:44 PM

An anonymous NFL scout compares Oregon DL Arik Armstead to Chris Canty and said he "[doesn't] think he'll ever be a big sack number guy, but he'll play well for you."

"Talented and big as hell," a different scout told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. "He's the one guy I've had a hard time grading. You watch him and you see the talent of a first-round pick. But then he plays like a fourth-round pick." As we've said before, the 6-foot-7, 292-pound Armstead has the talent to go at the top of the first round and the production to go on Day 2 or 3. "When you're that tall, you either have to have really good strength, or really good technique," another scout said. "He doesn't have either, yet. He plays hard. He's going to be all right."
Source: NJ.com
Apr 26 - 7:17 PM

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock explained on Thursday why he ranks Oregon QB Marcus Mariota No. 1 on his position rankings.

The analyst is a bit spooked after missing on Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel prior to last year's NFL draft ("I have to put my hand up and say I missed that last year with Manziel, and I'm upset with myself," Mayock said.) and vows not to ignore character concerns again. "I've got (Marcus) Mariota one, because I believe in Mariota, but the other piece of that is, with Jameis Winston I've got trust issues both on and off the field. Do I trust him with the football on the field, given the way he turned the ball over, especially this year with 18 interceptions? It could have been 40 very easily," Mayock said. "Can I trust him with the ball, which is the most important thing during an NFL game. And two, can I trust him off the field? To me, those red flags are significant enough that my answer is, I would go the other way with Mariota."
Source: NFL.com
Apr 26 - 5:55 PM

Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus strongly disagrees with comparisons being made between Oregon DL Arik Armstead and Calais Campbell.

Armstead shares Campbell's size and athletic gifts, but Renner wonders why everyone is forgetting that Campbell had as many sacks in his sophomore season (10.5) as Armstead did during his entire collegiate career. "Defensive line is one of the positions where physical freaks can easily dominate in college with little to no technique," Renner wrote. "That is why it's concerning that Armstead produced well outside the upper echelon of defensive linemen." Armstead ranked No. 20 in PFF's metrics of interior lineman versus Power 5 schools, logging mediocre numbers in both run-stop percentage (7.1) and pass-rushing productivity (6.0). "Those are worrisome numbers for a potential top-15 pick," Renner concluded.
Apr 26 - 3:20 PM

Oregon OL Jake Fisher is "really a hard guy to (evaluate)," said an NFL scout, because while he does need to increase strength and bulk, "some of that is technique and Oregon is not a big weightlifting program."

"You watch the workout and he's really a good athlete, but he doesn't play to it," he continued. "Kid plays hard. Obviously, he's got athletic ability." A different scout compared Fisher to Matt Stinchcomb. "He had no base, either, but same type of athlete," the scout said. "He's a pusher, a position blocker. He's got no strength or power in his lower body." The 6-foot-6 1/8, 306-pounder ran a 5.01 forty at the combine.
Apr 25 - 9:58 PM

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is "a great athlete with all the measurables to be a success at any level even if he were a tailback in the old single wing offense," notes Frank Cooney of NFLDraftScout.com.

"The concern about soft-spoken, easy-going Mariota is his ability to be an assertive leader among men," Cooney wrote. The analyst points out that all the best NFL quarterbacks -- Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck -- didn't graduate from primarily run or option college offenses, while Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton and Tim Tebow did. We aren't overly concerned about Mariota's transition to the pros. He's a dynamic talent and an elite prospect.
Source: CBS Sports
Apr 25 - 8:39 PM

Nashville Tennessean beat writer Jim Wyatt "won't be surprised" if the Titans pick Oregon QB Marcus Mariota No. 2 overall.

"The Titans are turning over every stone to make sure they don't let a potential franchise player slip away," Wyatt wrote. He reported a belief that the Titans originally didn't give much thought to popping Mariota -- preferring to stick with Zach Mettenberger and net an assured ransom in draft equity to move down the board -- but thinking within the team has apparently begun to change. With so many teams reportedly making offers for the No. 2 pick, it's also very possible that the Titans floated this change-in-thinking rhetoric to increase trade interest. One way or the other, Tennessee has masked their intentions as masterfully as Jacksonville did last year, when they stunned the football world by taking Blake Bortles.
Apr 23 - 9:44 PM

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock believes that the Jets should "sprint" to pick up Oregon QB Marcus Mariota at No.6.

"Personally, and I don't know a thing about it in the (Jets') building, if he got to No. 6, I'd sprint that thing up there," Mayock said on a media teleconference Thursday. With a new staff in place, it's a possibility that Geno Smith could be on the hot seat. However, with the Jets bringing in Brandon Marshall, they could be determined on surrounding Smith with weapons before they hit the button. Right now, it still seems that the Mariota Sweepstakes will start at No.2 with the Tennessee Titans.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 23 - 3:23 PM

College Football Focus points out that Oregon DL Arik Armstead had merely 26 quarterback pressures and doesn't believe he was dominant enough to be a first-rounder.

"He has the size and perceived upside because of that, but there wasn't much dominance in his performance," Pro Football Focus senior analyst Steve Palazzolo said. Armstead is a case where analytics and scouts are going to clash, an argument coaches and ultimately the front office are going to have to break. The 6-foot-7, 292-pound Armstead has all the talent in the world, but it's absolutely fair to point out that he wasn't nearly as disruptive as he should have been in college. In the end, we still expect Armstead to go in Round 1.
Apr 22 - 7:10 PM

ESPN's Adam Schefter said the hypothetical of the Eagles trading up for Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is now a "possibility."

"Count me in the camp that does consider that an option and a possibility," he said on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia on Monday. "And I was not in that camp a month ago, but I've come over to that side." CBS's Jason La Canfora agrees: "[Chip Kelly] loves Mariota. He's willing to do whatever he thinks is best for his organization, conventional wisdom and consequences be damned. He simply doesn't care. He's capable of pretty much anything and his peers don't believe for a minute he'll watch someone else draft Mariota without a fight." Lastly, Oregonian columnist John Conzano, who covered Kelly in college, concluded the following: "[Kelly will] get it done. Only question is what it will ultimately cost him. He doesn’t leave draft without Mariota."
Apr 22 - 6:26 PM


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