Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota met with media members at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday.
1. He thinks he should be the No. 1 pick in this year's draft – just like every competitor does.
Mariota was asked the same question two different times by reporters during his eight-minute interview: "Do you think you're worthy of the No. 1 pick in this year's draft?" He didn't give a difinitive answer, but said that, as a competitor, he had to. "Any player will stand in front of you and tell you that they're confident in their abilities," he said. "I'm no different. I feel that what I've been able to do at the University of Oregon, what I've learned, has prepared me for this level."
2. He hasn't met with any of the Buccaneers' staff yet.
Mariota said he hasn't met with Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith or general manager Jason Licht. He did not say if he had met with other head coaches or general managers, but told reporters that he did speak with the Eagles' quarterback coach.
3. Huddling up may be one of his biggest challenges in the NFL.
High school was the last time that Mariota ran an offense that called plays in the huddle. He said that it could be one of his biggest challenges at the next level. "I haven't huddled in a while, so that will be one (challenging) thing," he said. "For everyone, it seems like a little detail. But that is a big thing." Mariota has been working with Kevin O'Connell, now the Browns' quarterback coach, to get acclimated with pro-style play-calling. "He's given me a play sheet and at night he tells me just to read the play calls out loud," Mariota said. "That's something little but I think as this process goes it's going to help me, whatever team I go to, in terms of just speaking in the huddle and articulating the plays."
- His favorite throw is a seam pass.**
A common criticism of Mariota's is that his passing numbers were inflated because he threw so many screens. According to Pro Football Focus, Mariota threw more fade, hitch and post routes than screens in his college career. Still, it was none of the aforementioned passes he likes throwing the best. "I enjoy throwing the seam ball in three-deep coverage," Mariota said. "For us at Oregon, we did see a lot of three-deep coverage, three-deep zones. Our tight ends and some of our slot receivers were able to get in those zones. It's a fun throw because you can't put too much onto it because you'll throw it into the linebacker's face. You have to put enough touch on it to put it over the linebacker and have enough zip on it to be in front of the safety."
5. He has been preparing for the combine and draft alongside Jameis Winston in California.
Most mock drafts consider Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston to be the top two players in this year's draft class. The two have been training together, along with Baylor's Bryce Petty, to prepare for the combine. "It's a friendly competition that allows everyone to get better," Mariota said. "It's not in the sense of you wish bad amongst them. You just go out there and try to make the best of your opportunity. I think all of us understand that playing in the NFL is a dream that we've had since we were little kids. We're all pushing each other to make the most of it."