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Steve Sarkisian: Marcus Mariota will be a top-5 NFL draft pick

  • By Andy Fenelon NFL.com
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Coming out of Oregon's impressive bullying of Washington on Saturday was a quote from Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian that received a lot of play around the country. Sarkisian touted Oregon's Marcus Mariota as the best quarterback in the country, worthy of winning the Heisman Trophy this season.

But it was something else Sarkisian said that caught our attention:

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"I don't know when he is planning on going to the NFL," the coach said, moments after Mariota put up 454 yards of total offense against one of the nation's stingiest defenses intent on stopping the quarterback, "but when he does, I think he'll be a top-five draft pick."

Being a redshirt sophomore, Mariota is eligible to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. And it makes sense that Sarkisian would gob praise on the quarterback, elevating him to the best in the college biz, a surefire top NFL pick, a future Hall of Famer. OK, so he didn't go that far, but he might as well have.

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This isn't the first time a coach has linked a star opposing player to a high NFL draft pick. It's done all the time in an attempt to plant a seed with the player or prospective agent in hopes of getting the player to leave early.

No matter what Sarkisian's motive was in saying what he did, the fact is there would be nothing better for him -- and every other Pac-12 coach -- than to have Mariota out of college football the next two years.

Follow Andy Fenelon on Twitter @Andy_Fenelon

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