NFL GM: Mariota, "Overrated;" Winston, "the Real Deal"
Updated Aug. 26, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Over the next few months, there will be many comparisons between Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Both are draft eligible, and most project them as the top two signal-caller prospects for the NFL. Entering the season, the consensus view has them pretty even as top-10 picks.
We recently talked to an NFL general manager of a team who has a franchise quarterback, so he wouldn't draft either Mariota or Winston. That general manager said that Mariota is vastly overrated, and he doesn't view him as an elite quarterback prospect. Winston however, is the "real deal," according to this general manager.
The NFL prizes pocket passing ability above everything else with a quarterback, and that gives Winston an edge over Mariota. Winston is a rare athlete who is a natural passer. His field vision and decision-making were phenomenal in 2013, and that helped him win a national championship and a Heisman. Mariota, meanwhile, is part of a college up-tempo spread offense. He uses his legs to make more plays that won't translate to the NFL. Mariota needs to show improved pocket passing potential according to that general manager.
Of course, the general manger acknowledged that there is a lot that can change in the months to come, as Mariota looks to improve as a junior. Winston will have the challenge of repeating his 2014 success while staying out of trouble. Other sources have expressed they have off-the-field concerns with Winston, and they want to see him show more maturity.