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The Smoke is Getting Thicker: Redskins Will Host Marcus Mariota for a Visit

The Redskins add more smoke to the Mariota to Washington fire

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Redskins are one of several teams that's Albert Breer is reporting will either host Marcus Mariota for a visit or for a workout over the next few weeks leading up to the draft.  The San Diego Chargers will have Mariota work out for them on April 15th, and the Redskins will host Mariota at Redskins Park at some point.  Breer made it clear that Mariota will not be working out for the team at their facilities due to NFL rules.  There are several other teams who are also showing interest in Mariota.  The New York Jets will have GM Mike Maccagnan, Head Coach Todd Bowles, OC Chan Gailey, QB Coach Kevin Patullo, director of college scouting Rex Hogan and director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger in Eugene, Oregon this weekend to put Mariota through the paces at the Ducks facilities.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who hosted Mariota for a visit earlier this month, will have him work out for the team on April 7th.  Tennessee Titans Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked about Mariota at the NFL Owners Meetings this week and predictably said Mariota would be the Day 1 starter if they drafted him.

Redskins GM Scot McCloughan has no problem leaving every option open when it comes to the draft, especially when he's talking to the media.  The only possibility that he was willing to eliminate during his interviews this week was the possibility that the Redskins were willing to trade up early in the draft to get Mariota or any prospect in the top 5.  If Mariota is available at #5 would he consider the possibility of taking him, of course he would.  Would he consider trading down with a team looking for a quarterback, of course he would, and he wouldn't mind trading down in the next few rounds while he's at it.

The Redskins re-signed Colt McCoy this month and will be bringing back the same three QBs that rotated into the starting lineup throughout the season last year.  Each QB is in the final year of their contract which is not a good position for any franchise to be in long-term.  The Redskins have a 5th year option that the team must decide on for Robert Griffin III by the first week of May, but that does not seem likely after the last two seasons.  Kirk Cousins played well in Jay Gruden's new offense, but was benched after several turnover-filled games.  Colt McCoy was able to manage the team for a game and a half but he can't be considered a long-term solution, or even a starter unless there is a repeat of last season's injuries and ineptitude.

Head Coach Jay Gruden also talked about the QB position this week, and said the possibility of drafting a QB at #5 has been discussed in house.  The team would not have a problem "hitting the reset button" at the QB position if the player available was good enough to warrant the selection.  Gruden named Robert Griffin III the starter going into the offseason at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, and reiterated this week that it is Griffin's job to lose.  Gruden has a year of experience with Griffin, and didn't seem very happy with his progress last season.

Scot McCloughan is coming in fresh and has no ties to any of the players(or to most of the coaching staff) and made it clear that spots on the team need to be earned, not given.  He made the point this week that Gruden felt obligated to name Griffin the starter so it was known that he would be getting the first team reps to start the offseason.  He also said it was still a competition, and the QB that performs the best will come out on top and be named the starting QB.

Will one of those QBs in camp be Marcus Mariota?  Probably not, but it can't be completely ruled out when you look at the big picture.  The most likely outcome is that the Titans, or another team will take Mariota with the 2nd overall pick and this pushes down another prospect that the Redskins like at #5.  In a draft that has no clear 3rd best QB, and is considered one of the worst for QBs in a long time, it's very unlikely for the #2 QB to fall far.  Scot McCloughan knows this, but you've got to play the lying game this time of the year.

If Mariota does somehow fall to #5, then we will get a glimpse of how the Redskins will be run in this new era.  Will the Redskins move past RGIII who cost them a fortune in draft picks, or will they trade down to rebuild the team?  Or does McCloughan stay put and draft the best player available like he has been preaching?  The Redskins have always been a wildcard in the draft, and it's kept them at the bottom of the league for years.  This year's draft won't fix everything, but it should be a huge turning point for the franchise.