Oregon Pro Day 2015: Recap, Reaction for Marcus Mariota, Arik Armstead and More

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2015

Oregon's Marcus Mariota throws during drills for NFL football scouts during Pro Day at the University of Oregon, Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

Chip Kelly wasn't back at his old stomping grounds to watch Oregon's pro day. That said, it felt like the rest of the NFL's free world was. Marcus Mariota, Arik Armstead and a host of other former Ducks were greeted by a full complement of NFL personnel Wednesday, watching on to get their last one-stop shopping on those stars before April.

Mariota, a potential No. 1 overall pick, drew the most attention. The reigning Heisman winner completed 60 of his 67 attempts in the scripted workout, per the Associated Press via Fox Sports, drawing both praise and skepticism from onlookers. He was accurate in the end zone but drew some unfavorable comparisons to his strong combine workout.

"I thought it went OK," Mariota told reporters, according to the AP via the Sun Herald. "There were some missed throws here and there but overall I thought I did well."

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network passed along colleague Daniel Jeremiah's assessment: 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Interesting. @MoveTheSticks says good thing Marcus Mariota threw at the Combine, which was far better than his pro day. Rarely hear that.

Mariota also stayed afterward for additional workouts, most notably with the Tennessee Titans. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt was one of a number of decision-makers in Eugene for Tennessee, which holds the second pick in April. Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean offered his skepticism that Mariota would be able to translate to Whisenhunt's system:

Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports

#Titans getting longer look at Mariota during private workout rt now, & will ask him 2 do more specific things. Can he adjust? I'm skeptical

What's interesting, though, is not all opinions were so negative. There were many who were rather impressed instead of underwhelmed. Gil Brandt of NFL Network talked to personnel executives who saw Mariota's pro day as a net positive rather than a negative:

Gil Brandt @Gil_Brandt

One of few who was actually there, talking to NFL people. RT @Renfro75: @Gil_Brandt U r first person of any person to say Mariota did well!

 Mariota has also drawn praise from his former college coach Kelly, who praised him as the best quarterback in the draft despite not making the trip.

"I think Marcus is the best quarterback in the draft," Kelly told reporters via Elliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. "(But) we are never mortgaging our future to go up and get somebody like that because we have too many holes to take care of."

Also impressive was Armstead, who likely cemented his status as a first-round pick. He looked good working through a series of on-field drills, skipping over the athletic drills to allow his combine times to stand. Bryan Fischer of NFL.com passed along an interesting claim that may make Armstead wish he'd have considered a position change:

Bryan Fischer @BryanDFischer

Mark Helfrich also thinks Arik Armstead can be a top five pick as a LT. Glad I’m not the only one.

Bryan Fischer @BryanDFischer

Too late in the game for Armstead to switch positions now for the most part though.

Chantel Jennings of ESPN.com also noted Armstead looked slimmer than he did in Indianapolis:

Chantel Jennings @ChantelJennings

Armstead looks a bit more trim. http://t.co/7beuQCpyp0

Perhaps the biggest winner of the day, though, was tackle Jake Fisher. A borderline first-round selection coming into Thursday, Fisher may have put himself in lock status. He looked fluid and strong in the positional drills, using his 6'6", 300-pound frame to glide through all the tasks put in his way. 

Brandt said he moves like a point guard:

Gil Brandt @Gil_Brandt

Mariota did well but guy who really made lots of $$ today was OT Jake Fisher. Ultra-athletic. Moves around like pt guard. Possible 1st round

Draft analyst Luke Easterling was even more complimentary:

Luke Easterling @LukeEasterling

Jake Fisher looked incredibly athletic at Oregon's pro day? No surprise here. My No. 2 OT. #NFLDraft

Other potential draftees who worked their way through drills included defensive backs Erick Dargan and Dior Mathis and center Hroniss Grasu. Overall, it was a day where things largely went expected. Armstead and Fisher remain athletic freaks. Mariota remains someone who's going to draw polarizing opinions—a trend that will no doubt continue until he actually takes the field.

While uneventful compared to those who wanted to leave buzzing about something unexpected, Oregon may well have left with three first-round prospects. Not bad for a team returning a number of starters for next year's team.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.