No big surprise here, but Las Vegas Raiders Marcus Mariota has been rated a top-10 backup quarterback entering the 2021 NFL season.
Prior to the 2020 NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders made the decision to bring in Marcus Mariota to play backup to Derek Carr. While Mariota did not play much in 2020, he did step in for an injured Derek Carr against the Los Angeles Chargers, and proved he could still get the job done with his arm, and his feet.
In fact, Mariota ran the offense incredibly well considering he had sat for most of the season, as he tries to use his time with the Raiders to springboard him to another starting job in the NFL.
Recently, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports released his ranking of the top-32 backup quarterbacks in the NFL, and it is no surprise that Mariota was near the top of the list. In fact, Mariota may be ranked a bit low in the rankings put together, as he came in at No. 8 overall, which was behind the likes of Tyrod Taylor, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and even Case Keenum.
Not to say those are not solid backups, but Fields and Lance have yet to take an NFL snap, Taylor is not a better quarterback than Mariota, and Keenum does not have the success Mariota has had. Overall, I believe that Mariota is a top-5 backup, and maybe even top-3, especially with him proving he can play at a high level this past season against Los Angeles.
Raiders in good shape at the quarterback position
Heading into the summer, quarterback is actually a position of strength for the Raiders, no matter how you feel about Carr. The bottom line is, he was not the problem last season, and actually threw for a ton of yards, few interceptions, and completed a high percentage of his passes.
In Mariota, the Raiders have the ultimate security blanket, giving them one of the better 1-2 combinations at the quarterback spot in the NFL. If Carr goes down for an extended period of time, Jon Gruden knows he has someone who can come in and run the offense, and that is huge for a Raiders team looking to finally get back to the playoffs.
These lists are always fun to take a look at, but as is usually the case with the national media, the Raiders are not getting much love here. In fact, I believe that Mariota could start right now for a few NFL teams, and while the jury is still out on the likes of Fields and Lance, Mariota has proven he can win in the playoffs at the NFL level.