<
>
Insider

Gruden's favorite NFL draft prospects

3m - NFL
Getty Images

ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando recently traveled to Jon Gruden's office in Tampa, Florida, to watch a 7-hour pre-draft film session with Gruden and Mel Kiper Jr. He has put together a list of 15 players who were among Gruden's favorites. The list is not a ranking of Jon's top players, but rather a compilation of prospects Jon raved about the most for various reasons.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

I don't understand why he isn't the No. 1 player in this draft on Mel Kiper's Big Board. I don't know anybody in this draft that can do for a football team what Mariota can do. He can read the field. That whole thing about Oregon being a no-huddle, dive-option team, that is just a narrative resulting from a lack of information. The Ducks run a lot of pro-style concepts. Mariota does a lot with the protections. I've seen him throw the ball with touch and timing in tight windows.

Mariota is the same size as Jameis Winston. He runs 4.52 40, he is incredibly elusive, and man, is he a playmaker and a great competitor. I see him functioning in the pocket, out of the pocket, and if you want to run a zone-read, he'll rip the defense apart. He is like Russell Wilson, only he is 6-4.


Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida