What our college grades said about Marcus Mariota
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is the one of the biggest stories of the first NFL Sunday of 2015, throwing for four touchdowns in the first half of the team’s win over the Buccaneers.
We’ll have much more on Mariota’s performance in the coming days, including his game grade first thing Monday morning. For now, let’s take a look at how Mariota fared in our college football grading during the 2014 season.
Mariota was our No. 1-graded QB.
Not only was he tops overall by a considerable margin (his +42.1 grade was considerably higher than the second-best 29.4), but he also ranked No. 1 in passing grade and No. 4 in running grade.
He was also a top-10 performer in our accuracy, deep passing and pressure metrics.
In three of our most important Signature Stat categories, Mariota was a standout. He ranked No. 8 in accuracy percentage by being on target with 76.5 percent of his 513 dropbacks. He ranked No. 8 in deep passing, as he was accurate on 50 percent of his passes of 20-plus yards, including 18 touchdowns and two interceptions. He ranked No. 7 in accuracy under pressure, as he was on target for 66.7 percent of his dropbacks when facing pressure, throwing five touchdowns to just one interception.
He only had two negatively graded games all season.
Mariota had off games in the Pac-12 title matchup with Arizona, and in the semifinal win over Florida State—but otherwise, he stood out for his consistency. Even in Oregon’s national championship game loss to Ohio State, the blame didn’t lie with Mariota; he earned his third-highest game grade of the season against the Buckeyes.
How does this compare to Jameis Winston, the Bucs’ No. 1 overall pick who struggled mightily in his head-to-head battle with Mariota? Winston’s numbers fell way short of Mariota’s in almost every category, but it’s important to note that the opposite was true in 2013. PFF didn’t grade all of college football that season, but we did go back and evaluate several of the top QBs, and Winston’s +44.7 overall grade and +43.8 passing grade both annihilate Mariota’s +27.9 and +13.6 from that season, and grade higher than what Mariota produced in 2014.