Former Oregon coach Mike Belotti has very high opinion of current Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Belotti told a local Charlotte radio station on Tuesday that the Heisman Trophy contender will be a better NFL quarterback than Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers’ current starter.
“I think he’ll be a fine quarterback at the (NFL) level, much like a Kaepernick-type guy … better than Carolina’s quarterback right now,” Belotti told WFNZ-FM’s “The Drive” on Tuesday.
Belotti cited Mariota’s work ethic and how he is a student of the game, while noting that Newton gets by mostly on his athleticism and physical tools.
“Cam has never had to work as hard, and I think he is finally now starting to get it and spend time in the classroom with the coaches. A lot of things come really easy to Cam. I think he still thinks he can just go out there and do it,” Bellotti said.
“I think Marcus is a combination of the athlete and the student.”
Belotti also believes Mariota is superior as a runner to Robert Griffin III.
“I don’t know if he is quite as good a pure passer (as Griffin), but he is a better combination because RGIII is more of a sprinter as opposed to a football runner and so he puts himself in situations where he can’t protect himself,” Bellotti said.
Whatever one’s opinion is on the matter, there’s a good chance that Mariota could soon have one very important thing in common with both Newton and Griffin III — a certain stiff-arm trophy, perhaps?