"I think Ken Whisenhunt would have to do a lot of changing with his offense if he brings in a Marcus Mariota. That would be the other option there for them at No. 2," Jeremiah said. "I think that could pay off nicely in Year 3 or Year 4, but Ken Whisenhunt, with some of the uncertainty in that organization, needs to win right now. Zach Mettenberger, plus a difference maker (Williams), probably helps them win more games next season."
That uncertainty includes Titans front-office changes that could put some added pressure on Whisenhunt for the pace of the team's improvement. Tommy Smith stepped down as club president and CEO last month. Although Whisenhunt is entering just his second season as head coach, and hasn't yet had time to truly make the roster his own, significant strides will be expected for a franchise that finished 2-14 last season.
Whisenhunt did nothing to dispel that theory in Phoenix at the NFL Annual Meeting last week when he said Mariota, if drafted by Tennessee, wouldn't be brought in with much of a developmental period in mind.
"You're talking about taking a quarterback with the first or second pick, you're probably going to play that guy," he said. "As far as whether or not he's ready to do it, we're still in the process of evaluating. We like what we've seen so far, he's a talented player."
If Mariota's readiness isn't quite there, Williams' is, per Brooks.
"This is a manchild. Young, athletic and great hand skills. He has the ability to stop the run, but also get after the passer," Brooks said. Added Jeremiah: "To me, he's a nice mix of a safe player, so he has a high floor, but also has that high ceiling because of his ability."
In other words, if patience is what will be necessary with Mariota, Williams is the better play.