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Brian Orakpo: Marcus Mariota 'for sure' a franchise QB

The Tennessee Titans' job will be one of the most attractive for head-coaching candidates over the next few weeks.

The reason? The face of the franchise is a young signal-caller with an especially bright future in a league where quarterbacks carry inordinate value.

"Until you find your quarterback," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff once said, "the search for him consumes you."

Titans players testify unequivocally that they have found that quarterback in Marcus Mariota.

"That's a real positive here, especially for me, coming from a situation (in Washington) where there was always uncertainty at that position," Brian Orakpo told NFL Media's Albert Breer this week. "Now, to have a guy that's for sure a franchise guy, who has a lot of room to grow and get better, I'm very excited. Marcus has a bright future. He's just gonna get better, and they're gonna add weapons around him, and he'll blossom."

Orakpo's use of "for sure" led Breer to back-track, wondering if the pass rusher was comfortable declaring that the organization hit a homerun with that draft pick.

"Absolutely," he responded. "They did good with that one."

Orakpo isn't alone in that assessment.

Teammates have raved about Mariota's accuracy, instincts, poise and command of the huddle going back to offseason practices and training camp.

Every game, all season

"I always knew he was going to be a great player," star tight end Delanie Walker said nonchalantly, via the team's official website this week. "His attitude, his toughness, the way he prepared for the game. I always thought he went in there and played the best he could. He is a very confident guy and knew what he was supposed to do."

Rookie wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, drafted one round after Mariota, can't wait for the 2016 season.

"Marcus had a great rookie year, and he's just going to keep getting better," Green-Beckham said. "Fans should be excited about what he's going to do in Year Two."

The next regime will have to solidify the pass protection, find a playmaking running back and add speed at wide receiver. That can be accomplished in one offseason with a strong draft and shrewd free-agent pickups.

Landing a head-coaching gig for an organization with a legitimate franchise quarterback already in place? That opportunity doesn't come around every year.

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