Florida State University’s quarterback Jameis Winston, recently declared for the 2015 NFL Draft earlier this month. In more recent news, Oregon’s quarterback, Marcus Mariota has now declared himself into the draft as well. With both players being two of the top prospects in this year’s draft, many questions and debates are now arising as to which quarterback will be drafted first, Winston or Mariota?
It is arguable that Winston may be the better quarterback over Mariota, but does he have the right amount of maturity level to set himself above him? As an NFL quarterback, it is ideal for that player to be a leader, and Winston’s off-field decision making this past season eventually led to him being suspended, leaving his team to rely on backup quarterback Sean Maguire in the midst of their 18-0 winning streak. Winston was suspended for a vulgar comment that was made on campus, and is still being criticized for that. Maguire was able to perform in the spotlight while Winston viewed the game from the sidelines, but will an NFL team be able to disregard this action as they are looking to fill in their top leadership position onto their roster? While Winston’s reliant skill and extraordinary accuracy on the field may be what NFL teams need, the truth of the matter is Winston may still be lacking the maturity level that he needs to put his name above Oregon’s quarterback Marcus Mariota, whose name does not have a distraction attached to his name.
Winston was able to perform and the FSU Seminoles were able to finish the season as 13-1. Yet the game that ultimately mattered was the game that was aired on New Year’s Day, which just so happened to be against Winston’s number one competition for being the number one overall draft pick this year – Mariota. His Oregon Ducks, who also finished at 13-1, played Winston and the Seminoles on January 1 in the Rose Bowl. It had already been circulating throughout the sports world that both quarterbacks had a very high chance in being NFL-bound next season, and the attention was definitely on both players. Mariota was able to out-perform Winston, and the Ducks went on to winning that game 59-20, which is a score that itself puts him above Winston.
Mariota was able to take the Ducks all the way to the CFP National Championship, but lost against the Ohio State Buckeyes with a score of 42-20. He does have some improvement to make, just like any other NFL-potential, yet his overall player performance both on and off the field may be what sets him higher than Winston. Mariota has developed a leadership quality and was undoubtedly successful with this as he mastered his offense not only this season, but for the past few seasons as well. Many would even make the argument that it was because of Mariota that the Ducks were able to stay on track after the departure of head coach Chip Kelly in 2012, who is now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Overall, Marcus Mariota is the better candidate for being the number one overall draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The combination of his tremendous athletic ability, leadership and maturity provided a comfort in reliability throughout his team, which is a needed characteristic from an NFL quarterback. Mariota and Winston have created a quarterback draft debate that may be one that will continue on during the 2015 NFL season. The two will surely be in the spotlight and will constantly be compared to each other. While the two will be in debate for the next three months, many football fans are anxiously awaiting to see if Winston’s draft spotlight will be taken away by Mariota, as he was able to take that spotlight away from Winston in this year’s Rose Bowl.
Commentary By Tricia Manalansan
Photo Courtesy of Neon Tommy – Flickr License