Risk and reward in drafting Mariota

Marcus Mariota will have his pro day on Thursday in Eugene, Oregon, and there will be a great deal of interest from both NFL teams and fans on how he performs. He is a difficult prospect to evaluate because he possesses many of the traits you see in a prototypical NFL quarterback prospect (namely his mental makeup, size, arm strength, pocket agility and durability) along with some rare abilities for the position (namely his straight-line speed and ability to throw on the run). But he also has some significant improving to do in the area that matters most for quarterbacks translating to the NFL level: the ability to consistently make throws from the pocket with great anticipatory accuracy.

He checks every box in terms of his character and intangibles, and the team that ends up drafting him might do so while banking on his high football intelligence and ability to improve at winning from the pocket as he transitions from Oregon's uptempo spread attack to a more NFL-style offense.

I've had him going No. 6 to the New York Jets in my two most recent mock drafts, and while I currently view Florida State QB Jameis Winston as a superior prospect based on his game tape, it's too early to rule out Mariota being the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' choice with the No. 1 overall pick on April 30. At a minimum, it's fair to say at this point that Mariota is a potential top-five pick in the 2015 draft.

Ahead of his pro day on March 12, I decided to break out the scouting report I wrote on him (which you can find in its entirety in our Draft Tracker) and go section by section on how he grades out in the traits I evaluate for every QB prospect. I've also included a conclusion section at the end.

Note: Each category is graded on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being exceptional, 2 above average, 3 average, 4 below average and 5 marginal.