Is Mariota NFL Ready Already?
With another strong showing in Oregon's win over Washington, Marcus Mariota suddenly found himself at the head of the class. He had been widely christened the Heisman front-runner, perhaps the top quarterback prospect potentially available in the 2014 NFL Draft. Maybe even the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Forget for the moment that the flavor du jour rarely is still good six months down the road, Mariota's rapid ascendence still begs an important question: Is he -- or any other redshirt sophomore quarterback, for that matter -- really ready for the NFL?
Wouldn't Mariota, and Brett Hundley and even Johnny Manziel, be better prospects with another year of developing at the college level?
As a business decision, it's a no-brainer. Take the money and run. But taking that extra year, as Andrew Luck did and Peyton Manning did, and learning to play the postion the way he'll be asked to play it at the next level might just be the better call from a strictly football perspective. In spite of all the affirmations he's hearing these days.