Over this final week and a half, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.
**DISCLAIMER: This is part of a project FOR FUN. All trades suggested are merely hypotheticals, and do not reflect my actual opinion of what will happen on draft day. Enjoy.**
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No. 2: The Tennessee Titans
TEN’s Draft Pick: Second
TEN’s 2015 Cap Space: $42,785,599
TEN’s Top Needs: QB, Pass Rusher, Skill Player
The push for Marcus Mariota began in Tennessee during early October. Fans, embarrassed by their team’s performance, launched the Suck for the Duck campaign. Although initially a joke, Tennessee didn’t give up on their fans’ request. Going 2-14, and not winning a game since Week 6, put the Titans in serious competition for the No. 1 pick. The Titans used their second round pick last year to draft Bishop Sankey, a dynamic RB, but outside of Sankey their offense looks mediocre at best. Zach Mettenberger showed glimpses of promise, but overall he looks destined for a career as a backup. The Titans’ other QB, free agent Jake Locker, has spent more time healing from injuries than he has practicing. The Titans need stability at the QB position if they’re ever going to grow as an offense. Could Mariota be that guy for them?
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:
With all signs pointing to Tampa Bay drafting Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, the Titans probably wouldn’t have to worry about a trade at all. If for some reason Winston performs poorly at the combine, or more questions about his character arise and TB decides they want Mariota instead, then it wouldn’t be hard for the Titans to swing a trade for the No. 1 pick. Swapping first round picks this year, as well as giving up next year’s first rounder should be enough to trade up one spot.
HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN TENNESSEE:
Tennessee doesn’t have a whole lot of money to spend, and they don’t have a huge fan base. What they do have however is favorable weather and some developing weapons for Mariota to use. Delanie Walker is a big target at tight end who has a history of steady production. Kendall Wright has accumulated nearly 2,500 yards of offense over his first three seasons with the Titans, and has cemented himself as a dependable target. Finally, second-year player Justin Hunter shows huge promise as a big-play threat. Tennessee has some decent weapons, they just don’t have a QB.
WOULD HE START?:
Honestly, who knows? He should start, because he’d be the best QB in camp, but coach Ken Whisenhunt might want to let him develop first. Because of that the Titans probably wouldn’t improve that much next year, but after his rookie season the Titans could probably make a big leap with Mariota at the helm. My guess would be that Mettenberger would start at least start the first half of games, and if he continued to struggle Mariota could take over around Week 10.
TEN’s Projected Record with Mariota: 6-10
TEN’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 3-13
Mariota’s first year stats: 1,700 yards/11 pass TDS/3 Ints/3 Rushing TDs
Top photo from commons.wikimedia.org