When it comes to Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, online betting fans across the globe have already formed steadfast opinions on the top two picks in the 2015 NFL Draft and I am no different. NFL football pundits everywhere are almost universally split on whether Winston, the No. 1 overall selection or Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick, will turn out to be more the more productive professional over the course of their respective NFL careers. Thankfully, I am going to offer up my own expert predictions in this fun-filled football analysis on how I believe the careers of both ‘polar-opposite’ signal-callers will play out. Let’s get started with Winston, the former Florida State 2013 Heisman Trophy and NCAA Championship winner. If you’re like most football fans that follow both, NCAA collegiate gridiron action and their professional NFL counterparts, then you have almost assuredly formed an opinion on Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Likewise, NFL pundits, bettors and casual fans alike also believe they know how the respective NFL careers of both signal-callers will play out once the pair takes to the field for their rookie seasons in 2015. Of course, I have formed my own opinions on how I believe both quarterbacks will fare once they face the bigger, faster and meaner defenders that make up NFL defenses across the league. With that said, let’s get started with former Florida State superstar Jameis Winston.
I know Winston has maturation issues and that any off-field foolishness could quickly sideline him at any point in his NFL career, but I also believe he’s going to a great situation in Tampa Bay playing for no-nonsense head coach Lovie Smith and that he’s actually going to surprise a lot of people by staying out of off-field trouble.
One thing about Winston that I genuinely believe is that the former Seminoles superstar wants to be great and that he’ll do just about anything to become a great NFL player.
“Jameis on the field will grade out exceptionally well,” Trent Dilfer, a former NFL quarterback who coached Winston in the Elite 11 high school camp, told USA Today Sports. “He did stuff in college NFL quarterbacks can’t do.”
“Jameis Winston, who rushed for a billion yards in high school and ran around and dominated physically, got to college and decided, ‘I want to be a great pocket passer, and I know my size and speed can bail me out of some stuff, but I first want to play from the pocket, “ Dilfer added. “I want to be Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Dan Marino – that’s how I see myself – but I also know I have this other thing.’
Mariota completed at least 68.3 percent of his passes in two of his three seasons while completing an impressive 63.5 percent as a sophomore. The cerebral signal-caller also never three more than six interceptions in any season while finishing his collegiate career with 105 TD passes and just 14 interceptions.
Mariota also has an added skill set in that he can run the ball as well as any quarterback in recent memory. Mariota may stand 6-4, but he’s a thin 219 pounds and the fleet-footed signal-caller rushed for at least 700 yards in each of his three seasons at Oregon.
Still, there are concerns that Mariota could struggle in adjusting to a more conventional pro system where he’s under center more than in the wide-open shotgun system he was used in at Oregon.
“I think what we’re all learning is that the NFL defenses catch up fairly quickly to the new style of quarterback,” NFL Network chief draft analyst Mike Mayock told USA Today Sports. “At the end of the day, if you can’t win from within the pocket, you’ve got no shot at being a franchise quarterback in this league.
“It’s a really difficult projection.”
“That’s a warning sign for Mariota,” Mayock added. “One of the biggest challenges for guys coming out of that offense is knowing the difference between college open (receivers) and NFL open. … You get in the NFL, you better pull the trigger.”
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