Is Mariota just Joey Harrington 2.0?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has seen this before, highly drafted Oregon QB who's supposed to be the savior of a franchise. Akili Smith in Cincinnati, and then Joey Harrington in Detroit. Neither of them worked out for the franchise that put it's future on their back. Harrington, much like Mariota was a storied player at Oregon. Finishing 4th in the Heisman voting as a senior, winning 3 Bowl games, and leaving Oregon 3rd all time in career yards. Mariota came and tppped everything Harrington did at Oregon. He started as a freshamn, went to a National championship, and won the Heisman. As a result he was picked one spot higher than Harrington when he went #2 to the Tennessee Titans.(Harrington formerly,went #3 to Detroit) The key for Mariota and the Titans is for Marcus to be nothing like Joey from week 1 of this season and going forward. Harrington was a bust, Mariota wants a bust in Canton. Can he get there? He has the work ethic and talent to do so, but will the team be able to support him?


On the side of the ball Mariota plays the Titans return their leading rusher, and their two leading receivers. The problem is though, they left a lot to be desired last year. At Running Back, Bishop Sankey averaged only 3.7 yards per carry, good for 5th best on his own team, and he's the assumed starter. At Wide Receiver Kendall Wright had a respectable 57 catches for 715 yards and 6 Touchdowns. Those would be great numbers for a #2 WR, but he was their number 1. At TE, Delanie Walker had a good year with 63 catches 890 yards and 4 TD'S. All this really means is the Titans are hoping Sankey stops running like a grandma, and they get a better contribution at QB, and that is the responsibility of Mariota, these players will go as far as he can take them. The Titans did try and get him some help through the draft when they selected Doral Green-beckham. DGB is a talented 6'6 WR with the speed and leaping ability to make plays. An offense with Mariota, Sankey,Wright, Walker, and DGB would be great for your madden Franchise, but not the real season. Mariota could have a rookie season like Russell Wilson or one like Joey Harrington, either way he's not winning the Super Bowl, not with this team. 


On Defense the Titans finished 29th in points allowed, giving up 27.4 per game. They were also 31st in rushing yards allowed per game, giving up 137 per game. You can't win football games like that. The Titans didn't do a whole lot in the draft to get better on defense, their first 3 picks went to offense, and they only drafted two defensive players overall. Angelo Blackson (one of the two picks) is an athletic Interior Defensive lineman who has the ability to create plays in the back field vs the run and the pass, but sometimes gets over powered at the point of attack. If given one on one opportunities he might make an impact, but he's probably at least a year away from being a serious contributer. The Big addition for the Titans came from spending money in Free Agency when they signed Perish Cox. For the most part of his career Cox was a journeyman Defensive back. He got the chance to be a starter last year when injuries put him on the field, and he parlayed that into Big Money. Cox is athletic and does a good job locating the ball when it's in the air. He along with McCourty should be decent together. Overall this unit can improve, but to what extent is unknown. Fortunately for them, they'll play Blake Bortles and the Texans QB a total of 4 times. 

Fantasy Outlook 

The best player from this team to have on your fantasy team is Delanie Walker. He's a mismatch for almost any player due to his frame and speed. As long as Mariota is not Harrington 2.0 he should have better numbers than last season. If your league has an early run on TE's grab him early, other wise he's a good fit in round 7. Beyond Walker, I could see Sankey making sense in the later rounds. There's so many teams using multiple backs it's hard to have a RB to get you 16+ points each week, Sankey probably isn't that guy, but no one thought Forsett was last year either, I'm just saying it can happen. 

Overall Outlook 

Overall, when you go buy Madden 16, I would advise you to make the Titans your franchise team, move them to LA and call them the Sharks. It's a bright future there if everything works out, and that game play would be a lot of fun. But, in the real world, I'd say, at best this team doubles their win total from last year and gets 4 wins. I know Luck and even Wilson made it seem like Rookie QB's can start hot, but it's rare. Mariota is a rare talent, but he'll struggle, it's how he handles it that will be interesting. He can continue to get better each week, or he can get closer to the Harrington 2.0 label. One thing is for certain with the Titans they'll be an interesting story line to follow.