I give Marcus Mariota a lot of credit for his decision to return to Oregon for his redshirt junior season. While this is a very deep class of quarterbacks, there isn’t a clear-cut elite QB prospect, and with the number of QB-needy teams at the top of this year's draft, there was an opening for him to be the No. 1 overall pick. I think that if he had decided to leave, he would have been the first quarterback taken.
But even though he’s turning down a huge paycheck for this upcoming season, I think he made the right decision.
My guess is that part of Mariota’s choice was a result of him evaluating himself and realizing that he still has room to grow as a quarterback. His regular season didn’t end in the same positive way you might have expected based on his early-season play, and a knee injury that limited his running ability was a big reason why. His explosiveness as a runner is a big part of his game, so when that was taken away it forced him to be more of a pocket passer, and showed him that he’s not quite where he needs to be in that area.
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