Former NFL quarterback coach Ted Tollner doesn't hear things like "learning curve" and "developmental prospect" when it comes to Oregon quarterback and presumptive first-round draft pick Marcus Mariota. Instead, he trusts what he sees more than what he hears.
And what he sees is a can't-miss prospect.
"I just don't know how he's going to miss," Tollner said, according to utsandiego.com. "There will be a transition period, but I don't see how he can miss. ... If I was still in the league coaching, and ownership or the head coach wanted an opinion from me, I'd be on the table standing and saying this guy has a tremendous future in the NFL."
An important disclosure here, as the report noted, is that Tollner's son Bruce is Mariota's agent. And while that might make an objective evaluation difficult for a father whose son has a vested interest in Mariota, Tollner's spent about 15 years around NFL quarterbacks -- he knows what they look and throw like.
The biggest concern about Mariota throughout the pre-draft months has been whether he can easily adapt to a pro-style offensive system, which is vastly different from the hurry-up, no-huddle spread attack that the Ducks have used to ring up mind-boggling offensive numbers. For Mariota, those numbers have manifested themselves in the form of a Heisman Trophy, but history hasn't been kind to Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks where the NFL is concerned.
For that matter, Oregon quarterbacks haven't exactly lit up the NFL, either.
Tollner said during his tenure as an NFL assistant, which spanned time with six NFL clubs as a wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, prospect evaluations of quarterbacks focused more on a quarterback's skill set than the offensive system from which he came.
And in Mariota, Tollner sees all the skill Mariota will need.