SAN JOSE, Calif. – John Elway knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.
Elway was a nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion with the Broncos, and as general manager of the team, he lured Peyton Manning to Denver.
A Hall of Famer, Elway likes what he's seen from Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
"I like his athletic ability, and he can make all the throws,'' Elway said of Mariota. "Any time you have a guy who can do that, and is tough. He can throw within the pocket. He has all the tools, and now it is just a matter of finding the right tools to put it with. But I really like him."
Mariota broke several rookie franchise records with the Titans in 2015 after being selected second overall in the NFL Draft.
A former Stanford star, Elway watched Mariota when he played at Oregon. Elway made his comments about Mariota on Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night, during Denver's media availability leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl.
"We liked him a lot coming out,'' Elway said of Mariota. "I think he has a chance to be a good football player. He'll come around, he is a great competitor with all the athletic tools. I anticipate him having a great career."
Elway, MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII, threw for over 50,000 yards in his NFL career. He also ran for over 3,400 yards.
While the game has changed over the years, Elway said plenty has remained the same. He complimented Mariota's all-around ability, while also discussing the dual-threat Panthers quarterback Cam Newton presents on the field.
In Elway's mind, players like Mariota and Newton are the future of the NFL.
"I think the bottom line is you have to be able to win from the pocket but we're seeing some guys – every position is getting more athletic every year,'' Elway said. "The quarterback position is continuing to grow and continuing to be more athletic with guys like Cam and Mariota and those type players who can throw the football but also move around athletically.
"I think that's not changing the position because the bottom line with the position is you have to be able to win from within the pocket, and to win big and to win the championships, you have to be able to win from within the pocket."
TitansOnline.com looks back at the 2015 rookie season of Titans QB Marcus Mariota. (AP Photos)