NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —**Titans general manager Ruston Webster said other teams offered "multiple" picks to move up to the No. 2 spot to draft Marcus Mariota, though the Titans refused to budge, believing they drafted the quarterback that can turn around a team that went 2-14 in 2014.
"It was going to be difficult to convince us to back out," Webster said. "We had conversations with different teams, but nothing to the point of us not picking Marcus."
Mariota could start the season opener Sept. 13 at Tampa Bay against the top pick, Jameis Winston. Neither was at the NFL draft in Chicago on Thursday — Mariota, from Hawaii was in Honolulu with nearly 300 family and friends; Winston was in his hometown of Bessemer, Alabama.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt has said a quarterback picked second overall would be expected to start the season. And the coach known for working with pocket passers like Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner even says they started mixing in some spread plays into their offense weeks ago in anticipation of drafting Mariota.
"There are going to be some things he's had success with in college we'll incorporate in what we do," Whisenhunt said. "I don't think it's going to be that challenging. I'm excited about doing that. ... We'll see how it grows, what he can handle and how he can progress.
Former Oregon QB Marcus Mariota reacts to being drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the second pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft from Honolulu. (AP Photos)
Mariota certainly has the size at 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds and plenty of success in college. He said he developed a close relationship with Whisenhunt and Webster in all their meetings leading up the draft as the Titans scrutinized the quarterback closely, and Mariota also said he's ready for whatever Whisenhunt asks him to do.
"I believe in my abilities and the hard work that I've put in and that's one thing, is that I can't control other people's opinions," Mariota said. "I've just got to do what I can do and that's putting in the hard work and getting ready for the next chapter. People are always going to have their opinions and say what they want to say, I'm just excited to get it rolling and start this new chapter."
The quarterback position has been a revolving door at Tennessee.
The Titans drafted Vince Young at No. 3 overall in 2006 and Locker at No. 8 in 2011, and Young was the last quarterback to lead this team in yards passing in consecutive seasons, and that was 2006 and 2007. They have started eight different quarterbacks since trading away Steve McNair to Baltimore in 2006.
Titans Online looks at the collegiate career of Heisman Trophy-winning QB Marcus Mariota. (AP Photos)
Tennessee needs an infusion of offense after ranking 29th in the NFL last season averaging 303.7 yards per game in Whisenhunt's first year. The Titans ranked 22nd with 213.3 yards passing per game, and Mariota was the humble leader of Oregon's high-flying offense for three seasons.
Mariota's ability to create plays with his arm and his legs took the Ducks to the brink of a national championship before falling short to Ohio State, finishing the season 13-2.
Along the way Mariota won every major award he qualified for, starting with the Heisman, as well as AP Player of the Year, the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.
Mariota set a conference record for most touchdowns in a single season with 58; 42 via pass, 15 on the run and a touchdown catch. His passing touchdowns set a Pac-12 single-season record. He also set the conference's career mark for career touchdowns with 136.
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota makes a pre-draft visit with Titans officials Thursday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
He threw at least one touchdown pass in all 41 college games he played in at Oregon, starting every one of his appearances. And he's one of just four quarterbacks in FBS history to pass for more than 10,000 yards and run for more than 2,000 in his career.
Mariota was known for his steady demeanor from the start. Off the field, he was shy and unassuming, but he stayed on the field following every game to shake hands and pose for pictures.
A three-star recruit for the Ducks out of St. Louis High School in Honolulu, Mariota is fiercely proud of his island roots: His helmet facemask was designed to include the numbers 8-0-8 in a nod to the state's area code.
Mariota has already attracted several sponsors including Nike — co-founder Phil Knight is an Oregon alum — and more recently Subway and Beats By Dre.
IRONIC TWIST: The University of Memphis was the first college to offer Marcus Mariota a scholarship followed by Oregon and Washington. He turned down the Tigers in favor of going to Oregon where he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Ducks to the national championship game in his final season.
He's now headed to Nashville — the town that brought the NFL to Tennessee back in 1997. Memphis was the first Tennessee city to try to land a franchise, losing out in the league's last expansion when Carolina and Jacksonville won the bidding.
"It's definitely ironic,'' Mariota said. "The first school to offer me coming out of high school it's funny to kind of see it come full circle. Again, it's an awesome opportunity, and I'm looking forward to getting to Nashville.''