NASHVILLE, Tenn. – NFL Draft Expert Mike Mayock hosted a three-hour long conference call covering a myriad of topics related to the upcoming combine and draft.
He covered two questions regarding the Titans.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean asked if he'd rather have Marcus Mariota or Zach Mettenberger, assuming Jameis Winston goes number one to Tampa Bay.
"I don't know how they're going to evaluate this because I don't see them with Zach," Mayock said. "I don't get the daily benefit of Zach Mettenberger last year. Mettenberger might have been a sixth-round pick, but he was coming off an ACL and he had some questions off the field, work ethic, and etcetera.
"Now, if Ken Whisenhunt and that staff who have now had the benefit of seeing him for a year, and by the way, as you know, Mettenberger has got a big arm. He's got NFL-starting caliber arm strength, so this is not a normal sixth-round pick. This is a guy with plus arm talent and ability, so if you go through a year with him and you go, 'Wow, he can make every throw, he works his tail off, we love him in the film room, he's a leader, he's lifting with the offensive line, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing,' then you sit at two, and you go, 'Okay, now we can deal from strength, we don't have to take a quarterback. We can trade down for somebody who wants to come up and get Marcus Mariota, or we can take the No. 1 player in this draft, whoever that is on or board, probably in their case an edge rusher.'"
Mettenberger made six starts as a rookie in 2014, throwing for 1,395 yards and eight touchdowns before a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely.
Mayock said if the Titans decide Mettenberger is their quarterback of the future, it will give them more flexibility with the second overall pick.
"If I'm Tennessee, I'm hoping that my evaluation of Mettenberger is high enough that I think we can win with him because it gives me more options on the other end," he said. "However, if it's not and we think we can upgrade that quarterback position to a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, then you've got to pull the trigger."
Much has been made about the trade market for the Titans with that second pick. The Redskins move from number six to number two in 2012 to draft Robert Griffin III is regarded as one of the biggest draft-related blockbusters in recent memory. In that deal, Washington sent the St. Louis Rams three first round picks and one second-rounder.
Based on how that deal has played out over the first three seasons of RGIII's career, Mayock says teams are a bit more timid to sell the farm for a single prospect. That said, if a team grades Mariota or Winston (one of whom will be on the board at number two) as a possible franchise quarterback, it may be worth the risk.
"I think it's an interesting philosophy because philosophically I would tell you that there are only 10 or 12 franchise quarterbacks in the league defined by your confidence in thinking that kid can lead you to a Super Bowl," he said. "So if there are only 10 or 12 in the league and you don't have one of them, part of the theory is you better go get them, and that's what Washington did. Washington went and got the guy they thought could help them win the Super Bowl. Because of what's happened to that kid, both with injuries and the way he's played, I think a lot of teams are very nervous about the perception on mortgaging your future. So I think you've got to be fairly intelligent about this. There aren't a whole lot of Andrew Lucks out there where you bang the table and say that's a short thing.
"When Washington pulled the trigger, I applauded it because my point was, hey, they felt like they needed to upgrade the position and they went after it. Either way, if the kid turns into who they think he is, you've got a chance to go win a Super Bowl. If he doesn't, you're going to get fired anyway. So I think it's an interesting philosophy.
Mayock continued to say that he doesn't believe there will be a huge trade market for either quarterback.
"The question I have this year is I'm not sure either of these two guys you can mortgage your future on, unless you just completely understand the kid and buy into the kid a 100 percent and you're willing to move up," he said.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the team that will continue to get the most publicity in regards to moving up the draft. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly recruited Mariota to play at Oregon and could very well have dreams of reuniting in the NFL.
Those, however, are likely just dreams.
Philadelphia currently sits at number 20. The reality is that the cost to move up 18 spots is likely too hefty for them to realistically be able to afford. The Redskins gave up three first round picks just to jump four spots in the draft order.
"I don't know if Chip Kelly can go from 20 to wherever, that's a long way to move," Mayock concluded. "But the two quarterbacks are the most logical guys, Tennessee sitting at two. Obviously one of those quarterbacks is going to be sitting there, if not both of them. To me looking at quarterback is the most logical guy. I don't think it's going to be a position player somebody moves up to get. It's probably Marcus Mariota. And I don't see the market that we had for RG3."