- Oregon's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. QB Marcus Mariota, RS Junior...The Ducks' innovative offense simplifies QB decisions and this is roughly the same scheme Mariota played in high school. As such, some of the basics like taking the ball from under center and scanning downfield while dropping back are skills Mariota hasn't been asked to master yet. He's overly reliant (at this point) on his first read, occasionally commits the cardinal sin of throwing late across his body and wasn't a year ago when injury sapped him off his maneuverability and he was forced to throw from the pocket. These are coachable skills and given that Mariota is often lauded for his intelligence, humility and work ethic, scouts expect growth in these areas in 2014.
Mariota has a quick release and flashes deadly accuracy, including when on the move. He has a very strong arm and isn't afraid to make challenging throws through tight windows. He also shows good touch to loft passes over defenders down the seam or to backs and receivers on quick swing passes. He has good balance and agility to avoid pressure and keeps his eyes downfield rather than looking for an excuse to run. Like Kaepernick, Mariota puts extreme pressure on the defense because of his scrambling ability. He offers rare straight-line speed, making him a legitimate threat for a big play via his arms or legs on every snap. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com