Buccaneers’ O.C. Hire Doesn’t Make Mariota the No. 1 Pick


Dec 28, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown (12) congratulates wide receiver Mike Evans (13) after he scored a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A few days ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Dirk Koetter as their offensive coordinator. So now, many believe Marcus Mariota is the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft for the Buccaneers. But I’m here to tell you right now that doesn’t make Mariota the No. 1 pick at all.

They cite Oregon Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich’s multiple stints as an assistant under Koetter. Helfrich worked under Koetter in ’97 in Oregon, from ’98-2000 at Boise State and ’01-05 at Arizona State. And since Helfrich runs the spread in Oregon now, many think that’s what’s coming to Tampa Bay.

But that is not the case.

Koetter has always run a pro-style offense and his last stop was offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons. We didn’t see quarterback Matt Ryan doing a whole lot of spread-option running so that’s not the thing to look for now. As a matter of fact, Koetter told KTIT radio in Biose Idaho Tuesday that Helfrich didn’t learn the spread until 2009 under Chip Kelly.

So there’s no link from Keotter to Mariota in terms of philosophy.

As a matter of fact, a few days ago, Smith told Tampa Bay Scout.com the he came away extremely impressed by Winston’s “NFL-ready” throws in the Rose Bowl. Smith hired Koetter because he wants him to bring his vertical game from Atlanta with Roddy White and Julio Jones to Tampa Bay with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

Winston has a much bigger arm that throws the ball down the field with much better accuracy. So he’s a much better fit for Koetter’s system than Mariota, who’s the King of the bubble-screen. Smith wants that vertical game now, not in three years so the move doesn’t indicate that Mariota will be the No. 1 pick.