Tony Dungy offers hyperbolic praise of Marcus Mariota

Well this is quite the compliment.

Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, former Buccaneers and Colts coach Tony Dungy, now an NFL analyst for NBC Sports, offered a ton of praise for 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who is set to lead his Oregon Ducks in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff on Jan. 1.

Mariota has had an exceptional year, throwing for 3,783 yards, 38 touchdowns and two interceptions. But could this compliment Dungy heaped on Mariota be a tad premature?

Mariota is "Aaron Rodgers in the waiting," Dungy said.

With all due respect to Dungy, that's about as hyperbolic as it gets. As of now, Mariota is the top quarterback prospect at the next level. But it just seems difficult and far-fetched to make the leap that he can be the next Rodgers. Rodgers is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy that could go down in history as a top 10 all-time quarterback.

Mariota has yet to play an NFL snap. Three years ago, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were getting the same kind praise. Luck, for the most part, is panning out. After a superb rookie season, Griffin has suffered injuries and setbacks under two coaches. Some things you just can't predict.

No, Mariota isn't Rodgers in the waiting. That's impossible to predict at this time. But, assuming he declares for the NFL draft, he should be the No. 1 overall prospect available for the 2015 draft.

Follow me on Twitter: @JasonHButt

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