In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to decide who to take with the first pick. Do you take Florida State QB Jameis Winston Or Oregon QB Marcus Mariota? Both men are Heisman trophy winners. Jameis won a national championship, while Mariota lost a national championship. Both these men have proven that they are ready for the next level. As the NFL Combine, held in Indianapolis, IN, comes to an end, Marcus Mariota looks like the better quarterback.
Marcus Mariota, who ran a fast 40 yard dash at 4.52, showed that not only is he a playmaker from the pocket, but he can also be a playmaker outside the pocket, even at the NFL level. Jameis Winston ran a rather slow 40 yard dash, with a time of 4.97. To put that in perspective, a 307 pound Division III lineman ran a 4.98 at the same combine. This leads me to believe that Jameis Winston is going to struggle to make plays outside of the pocket at the NFL level. Both QBs looked sharp during the throwing portion of the combine, but neither seemed all that comfortable dropping back from under center. However, Winston played in a NFL style offense during his years at Florida State, which gives him an advantage over Marcus Mariota.
Mariota played in a spread, fast paced, high octane offense which didn’t force him to make a lot of NFL level throws. That’s Marcus Mariota’s biggest weakness. Jameis Winston, although he looked sharp throwing the ball, just didn’t seem to be as athletic as he was during his time in Tallahassee. He ran a slow 40 time and his vertical jump was in the high 20’s. Several 300 pounders, including a 335 pounder, out jumped Winston in the vertical. His footwork and accuracy really saved him at the combine. The biggest worry I have with Jameis Winston is his decision making on and off the field. We all know about his off the field issues, but this last season at Florida State, Winston threw 18 interceptions in a relatively weak ACC. We saw several times Winston throwing into double or triple coverage and his mechanics seemed sloppy. Winston threw off of his back foot a little too much for my liking. These things won’t fly at the next level.
The decision to draft either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston should come down to the teams in position to take them off the board. They should look at what kind of offense fits which QB better and how fast they need them to start. Mariota is a little more of a project than Winston, and might have to sit a few years before playing, but can you really trust Jameis Winston on and off the field? If I was the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, I would take Marcus Mariota. He’s trustworthy and he just doesn’t make many mistakes. Jameis Winston’s risk is just way higher than the reward.