ESPN has tabbed Marcus Mariota as the fourth ranked quarterback if he enters the 2014 NFL draft. In his first year as a starter for the Ducks, Mariota had an impressive campaign, nearly leading the Ducks to the BCS championship game. With a year under his belt, Mariota will be expected to have an even better season under center for the Ducks. He is now familiar with the system – which so far has not changed much under Helfrich – and has a strong supporting cast around him, which will help him succeed to the next level.
Barring injuries, Mariota will be a top candidate for the Heisman trophy next year, along with De’Anthony Thomas. If Mariota has a standout year and wins or is even a finalist for the Heisman trophy, he may choose to use that momentum and enter his name into the draft and this may be when his draft stock is highest.
With the possibility of Mariota’s exodus after next season, the Ducks will have to find their quarterback of the future. For now it looks like a battle between Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie for the potential starting job for the 2015 season. In the recent past the Ducks have a track record of producing impressive quarterbacks; let’s hope this trend remains as Mariota starts planning for his future.