Given the struggles Robert Griffin III has had with the Washington Redskins since his promising rookie season, it wouldn't be a surprise for NFL personnel executives to foresee a better pro career for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. But given that Griffin was chosen No. 2 overall in the 2012 draft, it's another thing entirely for Mariota to draw a higher draft grade than the former Baylor Heisman Trophy winner.
But that's exactly how one NFL college scouting director sees it -- and he doesn't think it's close. The director told NFL Media's Albert Breer that he expects to assign a significantly higher draft grade to Mariota than the one he gave Griffin in 2012.
Mariota has not revealed whether he will enter the 2015 NFL Draft. A fourth-year junior, he has another season of NCAA eligibility if he wants to use it, though he is on track to receive his undergraduate degree from Oregon this month. Underclassmen have until a Jan. 15 deadline to file notice with the NFL of intent to enter the draft.
One of the primary scouting concerns on Mariota, despite a storybook season that has resulted in a bevy of national awards -- perhaps including the Heisman Trophy on Saturday -- is whether he can adapt to a pro-style offense coming from Oregon's shotgun spread attack. But one NFL quarterbacks coach told Breer he isn't so quick to blame the spread for the pro quarterbacking woes of Griffin and others.
"I'm not sure that the spread's been the problem with those guys," the coach said of Robert Griffin III and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick. "I mean, go back to Drew Brees, he played in a spread offense in college. That was the spread then, they threw it 83 times in one game. And I don't think that guy's struggling because of the spread."