It's that time of year where top prospects need to state their case for why they should be taken early in the 2015 NFL Draft. Thursday, it was Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota's turn to show off his arm, his footwork, and the rest of his abilities for nearly 100 scouts, coaches, general managers and other NFL personnel at his pro day.
"I thought it was OK," Mariota said after his workout. "There were some missed throws here or there. It's a little different than a game."
Mariota threw 65 passes at Oregon's pro day, which was held indoors at the Ducks' indoor facility in Eugene, and threw seven incompletions. The workout was a bit of a mixed bag because of a handful underthrows.
"The feedback was it's not a great workout," NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said during NFL Network's broadcast of the workout. "It is what it is.
"He threw the ball better at the combine in my opinion. It was a little bit underwhelming."
Mariota is widely considered to be the No. 2 quarterback available in the draft and is highly regarded for his accuracy and running ability. However, there are concerns about whether he can transition from Oregon's spread offense to the NFL. Mariota designed the entire script for Thursday's workout and was assisted on the field by new Browns quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell, who was training Mariota before accepting the job in Cleveland.
On the NFL Network broadcast, Jeremiah and former general manager Charley Casserly remarked how rare it was to see a quarterback prospect huddle, call a play, and then run it as part of their script. Mariota did this on every snap in order to help alleviate concerns about him not calling a play in a huddle since high school. To that end, Mariota also used a variety of three-, five- and seven-step drops; he did not take any shotgun snaps.
The workout was probably the most well-attended of the pro-day season so far. There was a strong contingent of folks from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including general manager Jason Licht, and the Tennessee Titans, including general manager Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and Redskins GM Scot McCloughan were also in attendance.
While "underwhelming," Mariota's workout won't be as heavily criticized as Teddy Bridgewater's last year, but it might not have been the perfect throwing session he was hoping for. How teams like Tampa Bay, Tennessee, New York and others interpret that and adjust their boards are something those front offices will have to ponder over the coming days as Mariota is further dissected in the run up to the 2015 NFL Draft.