The Atlanta Falcons made a shocking move when they traded their franchise icon at quarterback, Matt Ryan. Still, after flirting with Deshaun Watson they felt it was right to let Matt Ryan choose his next team to finish his career, and you have to respect that. Still, they had Ryan, they thought they had Watson, and now they actually have Marcus Mariota.
With Mariota penciled into being the Falcons starter, what are some expectations for his first year back as a starter?
3. Atlanta Falcons Will Still Draft A Quarterback
Even though the Falcons signed Marcus Mariota they very well could be in the mix to draft a quarterback. From the start, they may be the landing spot for Malik Willis with the eighth overall pick. Even if they do not, they pick 43rd overall.
That pick could be used in a package to move up, or they could see any of Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, or Sam Howell fall to 43rd in the NFL draft. That puts them in play for four of the top six quarterbacks with realistic shots at all of them. Mariota is not safe.
2. Marcus Mariota Will Not Finish The Season As The Starter
We should assume that bold prediction three plays out. If so, the clock is ticking on Marcus Mariota. Teams say that they will not start their rookie, and then he starts. Andy Dalton was supposed to keep Justin Fields on the bench and Tyrod Taylor arguably was ahead of Justin Herbert until a freak injury. Still, it was only a matter of time until those guys got on the field.
Even when Mariota was a starter he never finished a season healthy. He played in plenty of games, but a lot of his play was impacted by playing through numerous injuries. Like Taylor, it could be an injury that sets him back for the rookie, but it could be that a 2-9 team needs to give the rookie starts as well.
1. This Will Be The Last Time Marcus Mariota Enters The Season As A Starter
Some fans want to believe that Mariota is the Ryan Tannehill who was in a bad fit but found his way on a new team. The issue with that is that Tannehill took over as the starter in his first season after being moved. Mariota has not been a starter in over two seasons.
Beyond that, Tannehill beat out Mariota, so it is hard to think that all of the sudden now Mariota is better than the player that was beat out by Tannehill. Even when the Raiders used Mariota as a run threat to mix things up from Derek Carr, he got hurt.
Mariota could stick in the NFL for a while as the backup, as he did the past two years with the Raiders. However, all that Mariota is doing in Atlanta is holding a seat warm for a rookie quarterback, and after another season with injuries, or playing through an injury that leads to poor play, teams will slowly stop buying into Marcus Mariota.