With only hours until the NFL Draft, let’s have an arbitrary ranking of the best landing spots for Marcus Mariota.
(Is best a subjective term? Of course, but all rankings are subjective. In this case, let’s just go with the common definition of best: Most likely to lead to long-term success for his career by all obvious standards, championships over stats, long-term starter status over early success.)
32. Cleveland Browns
A) Because the last time a quarterback commit from Oregon’s 2011 recruiting class it didn’t work out so well, and B) this is not a list Mariota needs to be on.
31. New York Jets
30. Oakland Raiders
29. DC’s Football Team
Not the best track record with quarterbacks, or any players, really. No. No. No.
28. Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of track records, getting drafted by them has been the death knell for any quarterback’s career over the past three decades. Perfectly fine team and organization currently, but that draft history…yikes.
Mariota in the Rose Bowl.
27. Tennessee Titans
26. Jacksonville Jaguars
Both teams mired in mediocrity. While the Jaguars have the bigger talent deficit, but also appear to have a better plan for rebuilding.
25. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers may be Hawaii’s favorite
team, but watching that present disaster of a franchise swallow their state’s first Heisman winner isn’t a sight anyone wants to see.
24. Tampa Bay BuccaneersSuper Bowl-winning quarterbacks Steve Young, Doug Williams and Trent Dilfer all were drafted by the Buccaneers. None of them won a Super Bowl with them.
23. Carolina Panthers
22. Minnesota Vikings
21. Detroit Lions
20. Atlanta Falcons
19. Indianapolis Colts
18. Miami Dolphins
All teams with young, decent starting quarterbacks that would baffle everyone if they drafted another quarterback.
Mariota in the Pac-12 Championship
17. Dallas Cowboys
Good team, but I can’t think of a worse match for Mariota’s desire to avoid the spotlight than Dallas. That stadium hasn’t exactly been kind to him, either.
16. Buffalo Bills
15. Cincinnati Bengals
14. St. Louis Rams
13. Houston Texans
Decent-though-not-great teams that need a quarterback, in order of viability to succeed there. Bill O’Brien is the best of the quarterback coaches available in that group.
12. Green Bay Packers
11. Seattle Seahawks
Better versions of the 18-23 cluster above. Aaron Rodgers is 31, so it’s too early for planning a successor there. Seattle would undoubtedly be the most fascinating team in the league were they to draft Mariota, and also the least likely.
10. Arizona Cardinals
The best team in the NFL the first two-thirds of 2014, plus he’d still have a year to learn behind Carson Palmer. Already has undefeated record at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Mariota’s final Civil War
9. Pittsburgh Steelers
8. New York Giants
Two teams with a low draft priority at quarterback, but Super Bowl-winning starters getting longer (but not long yet) in the tooth at ages 33 and 34, respectively. A little early for a succession plan (and thus, unlikely), but would make very interesting stories if it happened.
7. San Diego Chargers
Similar to Pittsburgh and New York, but the transition plan for the Chargers appears much more immediate
and real. Hearing it is not likely to happen
, though, for the NFL city closest to Hawaii.
6. Chicago Bears
5. Baltimore Ravens
Just a reminder, Joe Flacco’s 2016 cap number is $29,000,000.
4. New Orleans Saints
3. Denver Broncos
2. New England Patriots
Like Pittsburgh and the Giants above, but teams who can (and in some cases, previously did) consider succession plans. Ranked in order of organizational stability; Drew Brees is 36, Peyton Manning is 39, Tom Brady will be 38 by the start of the season. Having Mariota be a plan for the future would represent an amazing transition for these organizations.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
What will Chip Kelly do in the draft tonight?
Were you expecting anyone else at #1 other than the coach who brought him to Eugene?
Top photo by Kevin Cline.