The Tennessee Titans drafted Marcus Mariota number two overall in the NFL draft on Thursday and the quarterback now likely will be the starter for the team over Zach Mettenberger and that puts him in line to face Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season.
There was heavy speculation that Mariota would get drafted by another team or traded to another team by the Titans, but the team plans on starting Mariota in Week 1. According to ESPN.com, the Titans took Mariota will the number two overall pick and both general manager Ruston Webster and coach Ken Whisenhunt said they feel comfortable starting Mariota right away.
Mettenberger was selected in the draft the year before and he could compete with Mariota this summer in training camp if he is not traded. Mariota comes in after winning the Heisman trophy and bringing him team to the national championship while playing at Oregon. There was heavy speculation that the Eagles could try and reunite Mariota with former coach Chip Kelly, but that never came close to happening.
The Eagles and Bears reportedly were interested in the pick along with the Rams and Browns, but no team made an offer that the Titans liked. The team wanted Mariota and unless they were blown away by an offer, the team was going to stick with the pick. Mariota was very accurate in college and he likely will start right away. Some scouts have Mariota rated higher than Winston, but most have Winston as the better pro prospect in the short term.
Mariota could end up as the better long term prospect and the two will battle right away, as the Buccaneers play the Titans in Week 1. The Buccaneers are hosting the game in Week 1 on 9/13/2015 for the 4:25 pm ET game and that could have Winston against Mariota to start their careers. Mariota has the chance to start over Mettenberger and head coach Ken Whisenhunt said that he has the potential to start right away. Mettenberger showed potential last season, but after Mariota was taken at number two, he will have the inside track.
The Titans could have traded the pick, as they have needs everywhere, but the team felt Mariota was the best option. Mariota comes in after a great career in Oregon and he now will be the top choice for the Titans on the QB depth chart. Winston and Mariota have been picked apart by teams, but they went in the top two and now the teams will face off for the Week 1 matchup in Tampa Bay. Winston has off the field issues, while Mariota is looked at as a clean cut and safe player compared to the Florida State QB.
"I felt that through all of our conversations and everything that we did we developed a pretty close relationship," Mariota said of Webster and Whisenhunt during a conference call, according to ESPN. "I'm looking forward to playing for them. I'm excited for this opportunity. I'm going to work hard at this and make the most of it."