The 2015 NFL draft is upon us and it seems like every year we have a battle of who should go #1 overall. Nine times out of ten, it seem like this debate is over two Quarterbacks and this year is no different. The 2015 NFL draft will be headlined by Florida State’s QB Jameis Winston and Oregon’s QB Marcus Mariota. Both QBs are very different and have their pluses and minuses. Like very many QBs taken before them, their success will depend very heavily and what team drafts them, who coaches them, and who is willing to work hard enough to improve.
The best way to compare the two is by going over what both of them do well and what do both need to work on. Neither one of them have an exact comparison, but I think I can give you the feel of what type of QB you’ll be getting if your team happens to be the team to select one of these two top prospects. Both can be very good at times, but as we have seen before, the college game and the pro game can be very different. With that said, let’s get right into the comparisons.
What they do well:
Jameis Winston is one of the most accurate QBs in the college game. He throws the ball to areas, not players, which is what top QBs in the NFL stride to do. He may not be a Cam Newton or a Colin Kaepernick, but he isn’t a statue back there in the pocket. The best thing about when he does move is that he moves to throw, and keeps his head up looking down the field instead of looking to run. He came into college with a lot of hype and has lived up to it, losing just one game in his two year college career as a starter. On the field, he is the best QB in college football.
Marcus Mariota is a freakish athlete with a solid arm and can win games with his mobility ala Colin Kaepernick. Mariota doesn’t throw much interceptions and it’s proven by a ridiculous 105:14 TD:INT ratio in his 41 game college career, with two of those interceptions coming in his final two games. When you throw in another 29 TDs rushing with over 2200 yards in those 3 years, you can see how much he dominated on the college level. His year this year was a stunning 42 YDs with 4 INTs and 15 rushing TDs to go with 770 yards, which helped him to raise the Heisman Trophy.
What needs improvement:
As I said before, Winston is a very accurate QB, so why did he have 18 INTs this year? If you go back and look at tape of a lot of his INTs, a lot of them were either bad routes, tipped balls, or the WR not exactly fighting for the ball. As very publicized, the biggest knock on Winston is his off-field issues. From yelling obscenities in a public area, to stealing crab legs, to having an attitude that some consider to be confidence, while other consider it cocky. Winston has everything you want in a QB on the field, but he needs the right people around him for him to continue to grow and reach his very high ceiling.
Some people have said I am too hard on Mariota because I have compared him to Colin Kaepernick. I personally don’t feel that too bad, but because of the type of year Kaepernick is coming off, I can see where people may think that is too harsh. I have 3 big knocks on Mariota. First, he hesitates on passes in the middle of the field, which is a big no-no in the NFL. Second, He’s not very accurate on the deep ball. If you look at a lot of the long completions he’s had, a lot was either with Oregon up big or with a player wide open. Third, Mariota runs too much. Just ask a player like RG3 how a QB that runs too much can turn out.
All in all, both QBs have high ceilings. Winston played in a pro offense, but many people question if he can be a true franchise QB and leader of a team. Mariota can mobility that can bail his team out, but with a frame of 215-220 lbs, can it stand the hits that a running QB in the NFL with have to suffer through? When I see Winston, the best comparison I can see is Big Ben. Big sturdy QB who can move and has knack for winning games late. When I see Mariota, I still see Kaepernick, but in the right offense, if he can avoid serious injuries, that’s a good comparison for him and not a knock on him at all.
Both QBs will be in the green room waiting for their names to be called. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers very likely to take one of them #1 overall, the Tennessee Titans pick #2 overall and can go in numerous directions, including QB. What could do the QBs both some good, is knowing that if they are not #1, that doesn’t mean they go in the corner and sulk. They should use it as motivation as some guy in Green Bay has done most of his career, your two-time league MVP, and 2015 league MVP winner, Aaron Rodgers.
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