Earlier this morning Jon Gruden hosted a conference call where the former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst fielded questions regarding the NFL Draft. Gruden has been evaluating pro talent for more than 25 years, so his opinion is considered highly .
Gruden began by talking about the tough position that Tampa Bay is in with the No. 1 pick, saying, “It’s a tough decision for them … I would be eager to get my hands on either of these young prospects.” He believes Tampa will be taking a quarterback, but as to whom he’s not sure. He mentioned how Jameis Winston is an incredible talent, but he did not back down in his support of Marcus Mariota.
When discussing Mariota, Gruden said, “He’s quiet … very quiet. He is very much not interested in himself. He could care less about his individual achievements.” He did go on to say that Mariota “is very sharp … Passionate about the game … Has a photographic memory … I’m really impressed with his mental quickness, his arm quickness, and his physical body quickness. This kid can really move. He’s got a bright future.”
Also, speaking toward as to whether Mariota’s skill set at Oregon will transition to the NFL, Gruden said, “I could be Marcus’ agent. I think he’s very poised, I’ve seen him go through progressions … He learned Oregon’s offense inside and out, he’ll learn your offense!” Clearly, Gruden has few doubts about Mariota’s ability to succeed at the next level.
He even went as far as to say, “I’m confident Mariota can fit in any offense. I’m confident he could be a drop-back passer only if that’s what he wanted to do.” Gruden also dismissed immediately the idea of Mariota slipping in the draft, saying, “I’d be surprised if [the teams at the top of the draft] did not take Marcus Mariota. I think this kid, could be really one of the great quarterbacks in the future of the NFL.” That’s very high praise, especially considering Gruden’s history with analyzing draft prospects.
Below are some highlights from Gruden and Mariota’s QB Camp:
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