Former No. 2 Pick Linked to Patriots as Potential Answer at QB in 2021

Getty Marcus Mariota

Would the New England Patriots take a chance on another veteran quarterback in the offseason?

Well, the answer to that question seems to depend on who you ask, and which veteran quarterback we’re talking about. The Las Vegas Raiders’ Marcus Mariota’s name has come up in the past week and stirred some mixed emotions.

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The Marcus Mariota Poll

WEEI’s OMF ran a poll on Twitter trying to get a gauge on whether Patriots fans thought signing Mariota was a good idea. The results are just about in and it’s pretty close.

A little over 50% of the fans who took the poll don’t like the idea of the Patriots trying to sign Mariota in the offseason.

Well, there is a man with years of experience as an executive in the NFL who seems to think otherwise.

Lombardi Says Take a Chance on Mariota

Michael Lombardi, the former Cleveland Browns general manager and assistant to the Patriots’ coaching staff really seems to like what he’s seen of Mariota of late.

He was a guest on OMF and when posed with a question about the viability of the Patriots signing Mariota, the New Orleans Saints’ Jameis Winston, or the Chicago Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky, Lombardi seemed the most intrigued by the concept of New England giving the former No. 2 pick out of Oregon a look.

Lombardi’s endorsement of Mariota had a lot to do with what he saw from the quarterback in relief duty of the Raiders’ Derek Carr on Thursday night. Carr went down with an injury in the team’s overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but Mariota came in and played well.

Mariota in Relief of Derek Carr

Despite not having any reps with the first team, Mariota completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also showed he still has some impressive wheels and mobility.

Mariota led the Raiders in rushing with 88 yards on the ground including a touchdown. It was the kind of performance the Tennessee Titans envisioned happening on a more regular basis when the team drafted him No. 2 overall in 2015, just a selection behind Winston.

How Did Mariota Become a Backup?

Mariota spent the first five seasons of his career with the Titans. He had two solid seasons to begin his career. As a rookie, he tossed 19 touchdown passes with 10 interceptions and compiled a 91.5 rating. The following season, he was even better.

Mariota led the Titans to a 9-7 record, but he fell short of reaching the postseason despite throwing for a career-high 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 9 interceptions. In 2017, Mariota led the Titans to the playoffs, and they even won a wildcard game over the Kansas City Chiefs before running into Tom Brady and the Patriots in the divisional round.

New England smashed Mariota and the Titans 35-10 on their way to the Super Bowl. Mariota didn’t have a great season that year and things continued to trend downward. He was ultimately benched for Ryan Tannehill before being allowed to move on at the start of this season.

Carr will be out up to two weeks with a groin injury, so we figure to see Mariota close out the regular season for the Raiders. Depending on how he looks, he could create an opportunity for himself in Las Vegas, New England, or elsewhere.

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