UPDATE: Mariota named the starter, see additional thoughts in the comments section
2012 Position Rank: How does Sims stack up in PPR leagues?
2012 Draft Kit Preview:
Mariota - With the unexpected early departure of Darron Thomas, it was generally understood that the reigns to the high-powered Oregon offense would be handed to Bryan Bennett. However, that was until Mariota threw his hat in the ring in a big way this spring. In the Ducks' spring game Mariota completed 15-of-18 passes for 181 yards and a score while also rushing for 97 yards and two more scores... all in the first half! Mariota is not as polished of a thrower as Bennett, but he's a more dangerous runner and if he wins the starting job, should be considered a QB1 in most leagues.
Bennett - Bryan Bennett, the offense is now yours...or so we thought. Marcus Mariota pulled even with Bennett in the quarterback race this spring, but it's worth taking a flyer on one of them in hopes that you'll pick the guy Chip Kelly will be screaming at most often. This redshirt sophomore goes about 6-3 and 205 lbs. and went 25-of-36 in limited duty last year, only throwing six touchdowns against zero picks while running for 200 yards on 23 carries. And he can run. Not as well as Mariota but better than the former starter Darron Thomas. He's ready to play in more than just mop up duty; Bennett is going to be a good one...provided he wins the gig.
I think we all know the situation by now. I think we can all also agree that coach Chip Kelly isn't going to tip his hand either way before the start of the season. So it is up to us figure this one out.
First off, they are both going to play, especially early on.
Let's assume for second that Bennett wins the job and is able to hold onto it all year long. Given that scenario I would still expect to see Mariota in about 30 percent (or more) of the snaps. Bottomline is the kid is too much of a homerun running threat to leave off the feild. And Chip Kelly's offenses are all about beating you with an uptempo and speedy run game.
Now reverse the roles for a second. Let's assume Mariota wins the job and holds onto it all year long. In this scenario I would expect Bennett in less than 30 percent of the snaps. Again, Kelly likes to run the ball. You'll see more snaps as a situational runner, than passer. Unless Mariota doesn't have a firm grip on the playbook or his throwing is just atrocious in fall camp, I suspect he eventually wins the job.
You have to imagine that Thomas saw the talent coming up behind him, which makes his odd leap to the NFL not look quite as strange.
Based on Mariota's pure running skills, he would be my first choice on draft day. And given the uncertainty of who will win the job, you might be able to get him at a value. If Mariota goes off the board, you should be able to get Bennett at an even better value down the road. Drafting both is also an option.