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#pounditMonday, November 28, 2022

Ken Whisenhunt: If Titans draft Marcus Mariota, he’s going to be starter

Marcus Mariota Heisman Trophy

Former Oregon star Marcus Mariota should cross his fingers that the Tennessee Titans take him with the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Because if they do, he is going to be the team’s starting quarterback.

While speaking to reporters at the owners meetings in Arizona on Tuesday, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt praised Mariota.

“If he comes to us at No. 2, he’s definitely going to be the day 1 starter,” Whisenhunt said, according to Jim Corbett of USA Today Sports. “I’m very impressed by Marcus. … Just the short time we spent with him on the board, he was very good.”

There are a lot of things Whisenhunt could be trying to accomplish by making those remarks. One possibility is that he is telling the truth, and the Titans are very impressed with Mariota and could take him at No. 2 if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do what everyone expects and take Jameis Winston first overall. Or, Whisenhunt could simply be sending a smokescreen so other teams have no idea what the Titans are thinking. There’s also a chance he is trying to motivate second-year quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who will compete for the starting job with Jake Locker having retired.

At least one reporter refuses to take Whisenhunt’s comments at face value.

Whisenhunt has typically drafted and signed quarterbacks that are big, strong and can throw the ball downfield. Mariota has a decent arm, but he’s no Mettenberger.

When asked to elaborate on his thoughts on Mariota, Whisenhunt clarified that he only meant the team would expect a quarterback to start if it used a No. 2 draft pick on him.

Several draft analysts envision Mariota falling to No. 6, where the New York Jets might be inclined to take him. If the report we heard before about the Philadelphia Eagles’ potential involvement is true, things could get interesting.

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