In some semi-surprising news out of Oregon, starting quarterback Marcus Mariota has decided to bypass the NFL Draft and return to the Ducks in 2014.
Mariota, a redshirt sophomore, announced his intentions a day after receiving all-Pac 12 honors for the 2nd straight year.
“It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates,” said Mariota. “I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University.”
Mariota was slated to be in the running for the 1st overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. With his return to college along with the likely return of Brett Hundley to UCLA, the value for Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater continues to rise.
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still in the running for the 1st overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, this news could potentially have huge ramifications for them. Whichever team that does end up with the 1st overall pick, and does not have a dire need for a quarterback, could be in line for a hefty return in a trade with a team desperate to draft Bridgewater. The Bucs seem pretty happy with Mike Glennon, so, if they are in position, a trade down should be their only option if picking that high.
For example, just a year and a half ago the Washington Redskins traded three 1st-round picks and a 2nd round pick to the St. Louis Rams to move up just 4 slots from the 6th pick to the 2nd pick to select Robert Griffin III.
A trade up for Bridgewater might start with that kind of ransom. The 2014 draft might be deeper at quarterback, but it isn’t as top-heavy as most might think. If a team wants the most talented quarterback in the draft, they’re going to have to pay handsomely for him.
This type of trade could be organizational changers for both teams involved. The Bucs could be one of those teams.
Teams in the mix for the 1st overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft:
Houston Texans 2-10
St. Louis Rams (via WAS 3-9)
Jacksonville Jaguars 3-9
Atlanta Falcons 3-9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-9
Minnesota Vikings 3-8-1