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GM rates Marcus Mariota below Andrew Luck, ahead of RGIII

The gap between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as NFL quarterbacks is far more sizable now than it appeared in 2012, when the two were chosen with back-to-back picks at the top of the 2012 NFL Draft.

But apparently that draft gap is wide enough for Marcus Mariota to fit between the two.

An NFL general manager told that the Oregon quarterback, who has yet to announce whether he will enter the 2015 draft, falls between where Luck and RGIII were rated as draft prospects. That comes just days after an NFL college scouting director told NFL Media's Albert Breer that he expects to give Mariota a higher grade than Griffin as well. On top of that, an NFL personnel director regards Mariota as a "safer" pick than Griffin, according to MMQB's Peter King, because he played more effectively from the pocket this season than Griffin did at Baylor.

These are easy times to play hindsight games with RGIII, now that Luck has developed into one of the NFL's top quarterbacks and Griffin has fallen out of favor with the Redskins, and regressed since a promising rookie year. Nevertheless, Mariota has mastered the college game by any measure, compiling an outrageous 38-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season.

Still, the general manager sees a learning curve ahead for Mariota.

"You don't want him to be the kind of guy you're penciling in to start opening day, because he's not playing in a classic pro-style offense in college, and you don't want him to come in relying all on his athleticism," the GM said. "I also think he evolved this year as a passer. He stayed in the pocket longer. When I watch now, I see a quarterback going through his progressions more. Less impulsive."

Mariota is preparing for a Rose Bowl national semifinal game against defending national champion Florida State, and last year's Heisman winner, Jameis Winston. If he decides to wait until the Ducks are finished playing before finalizing his draft decision, as many underclassmen do, the announcement might not come until just before the Jan. 15 deadline, as Oregon could be playing in the Jan. 12 national title game in Arlington, Texas.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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