Scouting Report: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Marcus Mariota was a three star dual-threat quarterback coming from Honolulu, Hawaii. He had interest from many schools especially in the PAC-12, but only received offers from Memphis and Oregon. Mariota chose Oregon due Mark Helfrich, Oregon’s then-offensive coordinator who later became head coach after Chip Kelly moved to the NFL. It was actually due to Mariota’s talent in a quarterback practice that caught the eye of Helfrich who instantly offered Mariota a scholarship even though Mariota had never started a varsity football game up to that point. The gamble clearly paid off and Mariota enters the 2015 NFL Draft seen as a high first round pick.

College Career Overview

Mariota started his career at Oregon redshirting in the 2011 season. Mariota led the Ducks to a 12-1 record and defeated Kansas State to win the Fiesta Bowl during his 2012 campaign. Mariota continued to play well even after suffering a partially torn MCL injury and while playing through it during the 2013 season earning him First-Team All-PAC-12 honors. As a redshirt junior in 2014, Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, but lost to Ohio State in the National Championship.

NFL Breakdowns’ Other Articles on Mariota

Marcus Mariota’s 7 Fumbles and 4 Interceptions in 2014
Marcus Mariota and the Vertical “Switch” Concept


DOB October 30, 1993 Bench (225 lb) N/A
Height 6’3-3/4″ Vertical Jump 36″
Weight 222 lbs Broad Jump 10’1″
Arms 32″ 20 Yard Shuttle 4.11 sec
Hands 9-7/8″ 3 Cone Drill 6.87 sec
40 Yard Dash (10 yd split) 4.52 sec (1.57 sec) 60 Yard Shuttle N/A


Stats and Awards

University of Oregon (2011-2014)
2014 – 304/445 (68.3%), 4,454 yds, 10.0 y/a, 42 TDs, 4 INT, 135 rushes for 770 rushing yards and 15 rushing TDs, 1 rec for 26 yards and 1 receiving TD Heisman Trophy Winner, Davey O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Award, AP Player of the Year, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Unanimous All-American, PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-PAC-12 (2014)
2013 – 245/386 (63.5%), 3,665 yds, 9.5 y/a, 31 TDs, 4 INT, 96 rushes for 715 rushing yards and 9 rushing TDs First-Team All-PAC-12, CFPA Quarterback Award (2013)
2012 – 230/336 (68.5%), 2,677 yds, 8.0 y/a, 32 TDs, 6 INT, 106 rushes for 752 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs, 1 rec for 2 yards and 1 receiving TD First-Team All-PAC-12, PAC-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year (2012)


Scouting Report

  • Extremely quick release. No wasted time between decision and actual ball release. Great for the NFL.
  • Majority of his throws were based on packaged plays that combined decisions based on counting men
  • Rarely executed pro level concept plays, but has experience with vertical “switch” and smash concepts, as well as levels concepts, and typically executed them well.
  • Mastered Oregon’s offense
  • Threw to wide open windows especially the wheel route for long open touchdowns
  • Athelicism is incredible and will help save him behind inferior lines
  • Usually keeps his eyes downfield while scrambling. Has a tendency to go to scramble mode after the first read is covered
  • Needs to keep working on going through his progressions as opposed to scrambing after first read is covered
  • Typically accurate on short screen passes and slant routes
  • Struggled with long ball placement consistency
  • Ball security concerns – Runs with the ball extended from his body to use as momentum to shake defenders. Horrible habit in the pocket as defenders close from all directions especially as he scrambles around looking for the next play. Should be able to fix this in the NFL.
  • Looks to extend the play by playing “hero ball” and give his team a chance rather than purely taking the smart play
  • Typically good at seam routes over the middle
  • If he misses a wide receiver it’s usually becuse he sails the ball over their heads
  • Bullet pass is perfect at hitting players in stride, but his touch balls need some more development with placement
  • Offensive line was injury-plagued resulting in Mariota feeling pressure on many throws
  • Needs to get better at leading his receivers especially his faster ones

Film Study

Seven games were analyzed to judge Mariota’s ability as a quarterback in this scouting report all from These games were:

  • #7 Michigan State – 9/6/14
  • Arizona – 10/2/14
  • Washington – 10/18/14
  • @California – 10/24/14
  • @Oregon State – 11/29/14
  • #3 Florida State – 1/1/15
  • #4 Ohio State – 1/12/15


Accuracy is the most important trait in evaluating a quarterback. In the NFL, windows are much smaller as defenders are that much better at recognizing routes and have the athleticism to stay with their man. Mariota is generally consistent with his short accuracy on passes like slants, screen passes, and hitch routes. The Oregon offense featured a lot of these types of routes. Mariota is typically was great at throwing seam routes in between linebacker and secondary zones which should help him take advantage of mismatches in the NFL if the team that drafts him has a good receiving TE that can work over the middle.

In this last play Mariota shows he can throw on the run too. One of the things Mariota doesn’t get enough credit for is his undeniable playmaking ability WITH his arm. Most know him as a “scrambling” quarterback, but he made some truly NFL-quality throws that would be completions in the NFL.

When Mariota misses he typically overthrows the route which almost led to multiple interceptions. It was especially bad in the Rose Bowl game versus Florida State. Normally he makes a lot of these throws, so I’m not as worried as some people are about his accuracy especially over the middle.

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Samuel Gold

Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.