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Marcus Mariota speaks softly, but will carry big hopes for a franchise (the Jets?)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcus Mariota received rock-star treatment Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, but he didn't act like one.

True to his reputation as a laid-back quarterback, the former Oregon star didn't blow into his packed news conference acting like one of the top prospects in the upcoming draft. He was humble, soft-spoken and businesslike.

Broadway Marcus, he's not. Some scouts have questioned whether Mariota is wired to handle a big market like New York.

Mariota, who could be drafted sixth overall by the New York Jets, fielded questions for 15 minutes from the national media. Part of the interview focused on the challenge of making the transition from a no-huddle, spread offense to a pro-style system. It takes some quarterbacks years to make the adjustment. Mariota said, "My goal is to make an impact from Day 1" -- and that was the closest he came to showing an ego.

A few highlights from his Q&A:

  • On what he considers his greatest challenge: "For me, it's going to be huddling. I haven't huddled in a while. That'll be the No. 1 thing. It seems like a little detail, but it's a big thing. There are other things as well -- three-, five- and seven-step drops. That's all stuff I've been working on."

  • On whether he's motivated by those who question whether he can thrive in a pro-style offense: "I guess you could say it's a little bit of motivation, but it's not the reason why I'm doing this. There's a purpose for why I'm doing this. I love the game and I want to be part of this for a long time."

  • On how he benefitted from being tutored by former NFL backup Kevin O'Connell, who was hired this week as the Cleveland Browns' quarterbacks coach: "He gave me a play sheet and he told me to read the play calls out loud every night. That's something little, but as this process goes, it's going to help me to get used to speaking in a huddle. It's new. I haven't done it since high school." (Mariota also mentioned that he has been working out with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.)

  • On whether he considers himself the best quarterback in the draft: "As an athlete, as a competitor, any person would tell you they're the best. I truly believe that in myself. We'll see whatever decision is made."