Marcus Mariota announced today that he is foregoing the NFL Draft this season to stay with the Oregon Ducks. Big mistake. Mariota has had another banner campaign and would have certainly been a high pick with a ton of quarterback-needy teams.
There is one major reason why staying in school is a huge risk for quarterbacks, or any highly ranked college prospect for that matter — risk of injury. We all saw what happened to Matt Barkley last season; he decided to stay his senior season at USC, foregoing a chance to be a top five or 10 pick, to stay in college. He had a down season and ended up blowing out his shoulder near the end of the season. He then slipped all the way to the fourth round, costing himself millions upon millions of dollars.
Mariota has now taken a similar risk. He most certainly would have gone in the top half of this year’s first round. Now, by staying at Oregon, he risks either having an inconsistent season, getting hurt, or both.
The Ducks are certainly happy about this, as this makes them potential BCS National Championship contenders next season. Knock on wood that Mariota stays healthy, has an even better season, and improves his draft status.
The recent history has not been good though. Perhaps Mariota is confident enough in his teammates and potential new recruiting class that he felt it was worth the risk. Mariota will make some team really happy in a few seasons, as he has all the goods to be a franchise quarterback.
Hopefully, there are no bumps along the road.