Mark Helfrich Praises Marcus Mariota on “NFL AM”

Nik Brownlee FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

The 2015 NFL Draft is finally here and the first round is tonight at 5 p.m. PDT on ESPN and the NFL Network. At last, Duck fans will know where Marcus Mariota will start his NFL career. Among critics, Mariota is considered the first- or second-best quarterback – depending on whom you ask — and will likely be a top-5 overall pick.

Marucs Mariota

Kevin Cline

Marucs Mariota

Mariota has two knocks against him. He played with a spread offense in college where he may have trouble transitioning to an NFL system because of his lack of read progression. However, on NFL Network’s morning show yesterday – NFL AM – Oregon head coach, Mark Helfrich, spoke about his offense and his former quarterback’s ability to go through progressions.

Helfrich said, “He sees the field really well. He processes things almost too quickly for his own good sometimes — his eyes or his brain are on that third or fourth thing in the progression and his feet are still on No. 1. That’s where he’s had a couple — and we’re nitpicking the most efficient passer in college football history — issues, where his feet are off-balance.”

Against college opponents, Mariota can consistently get away with minor flaws in his technique, but in the NFL, he will need better footwork in order to succeed. However, improving footwork is something that any player with the great work ethic and dedication to the game Mariota has shown, can achieve with proper coaching — so he will improve.

The second “knock” is that he is too quiet and unassertive to be a leader of the locker room and command the huddle in the NFL. But Helfrich said, “His assertiveness is something that will be tested. What I mean by that: He’s a rookie in an NFL locker room — everyone’s assertiveness will be tested. He’ll just grind through that. And then just spitting out the verbiage, which for him will just be a matter of repetition.”

Three pounds and a point for Marcus Mariota

Craig Strobeck

Three chest pounds and a point for Marcus Mariota.

Some critics associate Mariota’s quietness as a flaw while Jameis Winston – the favorite to be the first overall pick — is loud and engaging. Well, that’s because both quarterbacks are products of their upbringing.

Helfrich stated that, “In his culture, that’s not what you do. You don’t show up on Day 1 and tell other people what to do. You show up and you work.” Then added, “He just got a little more vocal every year, almost every single day, by developing the confidence, getting out of his shell.” Mariota learned to be leader in college, so whoever thinks he can’t do the same in the NFL will be proven wrong.

Some draftees become stars while others become busts. One thing is certain – whoever selects Mariota is getting a dedicated and hard working young man with exceptional talent and character. As Helfrich said, “You’re getting Marcus. It’s a one-word description for us of all those things that make him who he is. That’s the total package.”

For all you did for your university and community – thank you, Marcus Mariota.

Top Photo from video

New! Oregon Sports News and Articles Curated Every Day for All Duck Fans!

Want to read all the Oregon Sports Articles in one place? Check out our new FishDuck Feed for Oregon Sports News and Articles aggregated every day for Duck fans and it is free. Over 50 articles curated in one day recently!

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Be a part of the forum and stay caught up!  When you wish to post there, do know that you are protected just as you were on FishDuck. Join us on the free forum right here!

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!