Skip to main content

Draft stock watch: Ranking teams' interest in Marcus Mariota

With private workouts and visits to various NFL club facilities filling the March and April calendars of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, the 2015 NFL Draft's top two quarterbacks couldn't be busier trying to sell their merits as top-end first-round draft picks. Here is a look at some of the teams believed to have the highest interest in each, and how they've shown it:

Why the Jets are a good fit: There is every possibility that Mariota could fall to this point in the draft, and every possibility that new coach Todd Bowles will set the franchise in a new direction by taking him. Mariota is an even-keeled kid seemingly impervious to pressure -- a good mindset for a tough market like New York.

 **Why the Jets could pass:** If it's going to be a year or two before Mariota is ready to take over a pro-style offense, Bowles might prefer someone who can impact the team more immediately with a high first-round pick. 
 **When Mariota visited:** A large contingent of 
 Jets decision-makers went to Eugene, Ore., for 
 a private workout of Mariota the last weekend in March. 

Why the Rams are a good fit: The Rams just traded for Nick Foles, but nobody -- the Rams included -- knows if Foles will play like he did in 2013 (outstanding) or if he'll struggle like he did last year. If the Rams are willing to give Foles a couple of years to define himself as a starter, St. Louis could be the ideal developmental situation for Mariota.

 **Why the Rams could pass:** St. Louis has plenty of other needs, and if confidence in Foles is high enough, Mariota won't appeal as much as a high-impact offensive lineman. If the consolation prize of the second-chosen receiver between 
 Amari Cooper or 
 Kevin White is still available at No. 10, that could be a no-brainer. 
 **When Mariota visited:** St. Louis will go to UO next week to 
 watch Mariota work out. 

Why the Titans are a good fit: If the Titans are determined to get a quarterback at the top of the draft, and Winston is already gone to Tampa Bay, Mariota is a no-brainer at No. 2. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has indicated the club wouldn't pick Mariota at No. 2 if it wasn't convinced he could start right away.

 **Why the Titans could pass:** The Whisenhunt regime might need a quicker turnaround than most second-year coaches face, and Mariota's learning curve might be too steep to contribute much in 2015. NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah 
 doesn't see it, and neither does former 
 Super Bowl champion quarterback Phil Simms, for 
 some of the same reasoning. 
 **When Mariota visited:** 
 Tennessee brought Mariota in for a pre-draft visit last week. 

Why the Buccaneers are a good fit: While it appears highly unlikely that the Bucs will pass on Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, it's not an impossibility. It's hard to imagine Mariota being the No. 1 pick, but not as hard to imagine Tampa Bay moving down for more picks, perhaps to No. 4 or No. 5, and taking Mariota ahead of the Jets.

 **Why the Buccaneers could pass:** If it's a quarterback Tampa Bay wants, Winston simply makes more sense. He should be ready to play sooner that Mariota, and the No. 1 pick is a little too rich for a guy who might need a year or two to develop. 
 **When Mariota visited:** Tampa Bay made a media opportunity out of its visits from both Winston 
 and Mariota, and sent a number of representatives to UO last week 
 for a private workout. 

Why the Eagles are a good fit: It's well-documented that Chip Kelly is as big a Mariota fan as there is, and he could certainly blend with the Eagles' offense faster than others. There has been a long-standing assumption that Philly would have to move up to get Mariota, but one NFL exec recently suggested that if Mariota falls past the Jets, he could slip a long way -- perhaps to the Eagles. At the very least, if he gets past the Jets, the price for Kelly to move up and get him could get a lot cheaper.

 **Why the Eagles could pass:** There might not be one good reason. If he were to fall to the No. 20 pick, 
 Eagles fans would be penciling his name into the slot before the card even reached the podium. 
 **When Mariota visited:** There are no reports of a visit or workout for Mariota and the 
 Eagles, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened. With Kelly's knowledge of his former player, he'd get less out of it than any team in the league, anyway. 

Why the Chargers are a good fit: Speculation that Philip Rivers could be traded naturally leads to speculation about San Diego's potential interest in adding a rookie quarterback. But even if a trade doesn't happen, it still makes some sense. Rivers is 33, his contract has only a year left on it, and only one more year of Rivers in San Diego could be the year Mariota needs to develop without starter-level pressure.

 **Why the Chargers could pass:** The chances that Mariota could slide to San Diego's pick at No. 17 are slim to begin with, but even if he did, who could fault the team for addressing more glaring needs than 
 Philip Rivers insurance? 
 **When Mariota visited:** The 
 Chargers held 
 a private workout with Mariota on April 14. 

More Mariota draft buzz: The Washington Redskins had a pre-draft visit from Mariota set, but scheduling problems forced a scratch. ... The Chicago Bears, with the No. 7 overall pick, brought Mariota in for a pre-draft visit earlier this month. ... The St. Louis Rams will work out Mariota and Winston in the same week.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content