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Marcus Mariota needs to improve play from a clean pocket to avoid fallout with Titans

Now five years removed from taking promising young quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans are on the clock. The team's brass is less than a year away from having to answer one of the most important questions of their franchise's history, and that question is simply this: Is Mariota capable of being what we drafted him to be? Is he a franchise-caliber quarterback?

In five years of NFL play, Mariota has been relatively efficient, yet unspectacular. He's not earned an overall grade below 63.0, yet he's never managed to crack the 80.0 threshold — the area of grading where the greats at the position frequent. Even in what was a career-best season from a grading standpoint in 2018, his overall grade of 76.8 was only good enough to rank 18th among 39 qualifying quarterbacks.

Some will point to missed time being the issue; they will acknowledge that he needs to avoid the kind of big hits that have forced him to miss eight games over the past four seasons. But there's a far more pressing issue at hand, and that issue is his play from a clean pocket when he is on the field.

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