The First 25: McNair, Young, and Mariota

A Closer Look at the Numbers in 25 Regular Season Starts

June 16, 2017.

April 22, 1995The Houston Oilers are on the clock.

Chris Chandler – a Free Agent acquisition and NFL journeyman – sat atop the Quarterback depth chart on Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s Oilers. Fisher – a first year head coach – had taken over as interim Head Coach late into the 1994 season.  Chandler had previous stints with the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Phoenix Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams.

McNair Draft

The pick is in. With the 3rd overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft, the Houston Oilers select Steve McNair, Quarterback, Alcorn State University. History was made on that day. Steve “Air” McNair, a heisman finalist, became the highest drafted African American Quarterback. Houston would not get to enjoy McNair for long, as owner Bud Adams moved the team to the state of Tennessee in 1997.

April 29, 2006The Tennessee Titans are on the clock.

Steve McNair sat atop on the Quarterback depth chart on Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s renamed squad, the Tennessee Titans. Fisher remained the team’s Head Coach during the transition from the Houston Oilers, to the Tennessee Oilers, to today’s Tennessee Titans.  

vy draft

The pick is in. With the 3rd overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Vince Young, Quarterback, University of Texas. Young, the heisman trophy winner, was drafted to the same team of his mentor, the late Steve McNair. Bud Adams –a big time Young fanatic elected to trade McNair to the Baltimore Ravens for a 4th round pick instead of letting the rookie learn from the legend.

Kerry Collins –  a Free Agent acquisition and NFL journeyman – was signed to the team in August of 2006. Collins had previous stints with the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, and Oakland Raiders. Sound familiar? Collins would start a few games, but would serve as Young’s backup throughout the Longhorn Legend’s rookie campaign.

April 30, 2015The Tennessee Titans are on the clock.

Zach Mettenberger – a second year Quarterback from Louisiana State University – sat atop second year Titans Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt’s depth chart heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. After the Jake Locker experiment failed, it was time for the Titans to go in another direction. With Locker retired after 4 injury riddled seasons, the stage was set for the “Mettshow”. Mettenberger –  big arm, throw from the pocket Quarterback – was raved about prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. Ron Jaworski went so far as to have Mettenberger  ranked as his number 2 Quarterback in the 2014 draft class. Considered by some to be a steal, the Titans selected Mettenberger in the 6th round as a developmental project. The team hoped to have that Bill Belichick/Tom Brady-esque luck with the pick. With the tutelage of Whisenhunt, Mettenberger was set to be sculpted into the starting role.

Or was he?

NFL: Tennessee Titans-Press Conference

The pick is in. With the 2rd overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, University of Oregon. Mariota, the heisman trophy winner, was the second Quarterback taken overall, behind Florida State’s Jameis Winston. Projected by some analysts to be the best Quarterback in the 2015 NFL Draft, Titans fans watched as Mariota – decked out in a customary Hawaiian lei – receive the call informing him he had a new home in Nashville.

There are eerily similar career path scenarios the signal callers went through. All were top 3 picks of the franchise. All were dual threat Quarterbacks. All were set to become the future. There are more intricate details that are comparable – but that’s for another article.

Below is a chart that outlines the numbers each Quarterback was able to put up in 25 regular season career starts.

Marcus Mariota Vince Young Steve McNair
Height: 6’ 4” Height: 6’ 5” Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 222 Weight:232 Weight: 230
Draft: 1st Round, 2nd overall Draft: 1st Round, 3rd overall Draft: 1st, Round, 3rd overall
College: Oregon College: Texas College:Alcorn State
Completion %: 63% Completion %: 57% Completion %: 54.7%
Passing Yards: 5,904 Passing Yards: 4,098 Passing Yards:4,474
Avg. Yards Per Completion: 12.32 Avg. Yards Per Completion: 11.07 Avg. Yards Per Completion: 12.42
Passing TDs: 44 Passing TDs: 18 Passing TDs: 21
Rushing Yards: 600 Rushing Yards: 871 Rushing Yards: 829
Rushing TDs: 9 Rushing TDs: 10 Rushing TDs:4
Rush Attempts:91 Rush Attempts: 151 Rush Attempts: 138
Avg. YPC: 6.59 Avg. YPC: 5.76 Avg. YPC: 6
Fumbles:14 Fumbles:18 Fumbles:23
Sacked:58 Sacked:45 Sacked:45
Interceptions:18 Interceptions:28 Interceptions:17

 

Mariota – the Best?

In looking at just the numbers alone, Titans fan have a reason to be excited. Mariota has more passing touchdowns,passing yards, higher completion percentage, higher average yards per carry when running the football, fewest rushing attempts. Mariota has been criticized for number of fumbles. He has the fewest of the three in that category.

Unlike his predecessors, Mariota was vaulted into the starting role. Doing so enabled him to become more acclimated the the speed of the NFL game. Mariota – barring any catastrophic injury – may go down as the best to assume the position for the franchise. McNair was eased into the starting role full time in his third season with the team. For Young, he took over full time after a few games. Mariota took over and played lights out in his first career start.

Moreover, Mariota was given new weapons. The Titans – a predominantly run-first team – now may have all the pieces in place to be a serious contender in the AFC. It will be interesting to see how the offense evolves with new sets of hands on the outside in the receiving game.

marcus bucs.jpg

The best of Mariota has yet to be seen. Titans fans are watching him going through the growing pains. If the numbers are any indication of what the future holds for the Tennessee Titans, too say it looks promising is an understatement.

Mahalo.

***All photograph credits go to respective author(s)***
***Stats referenced on NFL.com career stats***
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