Marcus Mariota's 'Lack of Red Flags' Reportedly Concerned NFL GM, Coach

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2015

USA Today

The Tennessee Titans had no problem making Marcus Mariota their franchise quarterback with the second pick in the 2015 NFL draft, but apparently not every team saw the former Oregon Ducks signal-caller in that light. 

According to ESPN.com's Brent McMurphy, an NFL coach and general manager told Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich that "Mariota not having any red flags was a red flag."

There weren't any glaring character concerns swirling around Mariota after he declared for the draft, and his collegiate production spoke for itself. 

En route to winning the 2014 Heisman Trophy, Mariota led Oregon to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. During his redshirt junior season, Mariota threw for 4,454 yards, 42 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also ran for a career-best 770 yards and 15 scores during that span. 

But despite all of those encouraging signs, NFL.com's Chase Goodbread noted that team scouts wouldn't be doing their jobs if they didn't try to uncover a few cons to stack up against that overwhelming list of pros:

NFL evaluators are a meticulous bunch, and the homework compiled in the evaluation of draft prospects is extensive, if not excessive. So it's not surprising that a clean review of a relatively complete prospect like Mariota would more likely arouse suspicion about what is being missed than any sort of affirmation. 

With the draft process a thing of the past, Mariota and the Titans can get set for training camp, which is set to open Friday at Saint Thomas Sport Park.      

And considering Mariota comes from a fast-paced system at Oregon, the Titans will need to try to open up their playbook a bit to make the rookie feel comfortable. 

"Obviously, there are some things he does well," Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt said on May 9, according to the Tennessean's David Climer. "We'll incorporate those into what we are doing. It's going to be a little bit of a blend, but he's a talented young man and has a very good feel for the position and how to process those things."

Given the poise, arm strength, pocket presence and speed the 21-year-old flashed consistently at Oregon, the Titans should be thrilled to have such a polished and versatile quarterback ready to take the reins as they seek to snap a six-year playoff drought.