Marcus Mariota Ready To Hand The Undefeated Carolina Panthers Their First Loss

Over the last 10 years, the second quarterback taken in each NFL draft has rarely turned out as projected. To refresh, here’s a list of the second signal caller taken in the past 10 drafts:

2015 – Mariota
2014 – Johnny Manziel
2013 – Geno Smith
2012 – Robert Griffin III
2011 – Jake Locker
2010 – Tim Tebow
2009 – Mark Sanchez
2008 – Joe Flacco
2007 – Brady Quinn
2006 – Matt Leinart

When Joe Flacco is undoubtedly the best player on a list of ten quarterbacks, it can’t be considered a good sign for the other nine. Luckily for Mariota, and potentially Johnny Football, they still have plenty of time to figure it out.

Tennessee’s smartest decision in franchise history was holding on to this year’s No. 2 pick. They selected Mariota out of Oregon with the expectation it could take him some time to adjust to NFL coverage schemes. My goodness did they underestimate him.

Mariota has given Tennessee a breath of fresh air, as the Titans are only 1.5 games back of first place in the AFC South. Given how bad Indianapolis’ luck/Luck has been this season, the Titans have a realistic chance to win this lowly division.

Tennessee still has a questionable defense, but their offense oozes potential. With a new staff in place, rookie Dorial Green-Beckham (DGB) is already thriving as he gains familiarity in the league. Kendall Wright has established himself as a home run threat, Antonio Andrews holds down the running back position, and Delanie Walker has emerged as Mariota’s go-to target.

Watching Zach Mettenberger and the Titans’ dismal offense last season only makes this season’s turnaround that much more impressive. Of course, much of Tennessee’s transformation into a dynamic offense needs to be credited to Mariota.

With 13 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season, there’s no denying that Marcus Mariota is special. Playing as well as any other rookie in the 2015 draft class, the Oregon alum could be well on his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

After leading his team to a thrilling victory over the New Orleans Saints, things will be much more difficult for Mariota this week when he takes on an elite Carolina Panthers defense. Aaron Rodgers carved up Carolina’s secondary for 369 yards and four touchdowns last week, suggesting the defense is exploitable. With the Panthers feeling good thanks to an 8-0 start, this one has trap game written all over it.

If Carolina isn’t careful, there will only be two undefeated teams left after Week 10.

Photo Credit: USA Today