NFL Draft Versus

Niki Smithers and Brad Davis

Mariota should be the draft’s number 1 pick

By: Niki Smithers

The NFL draft almost always has one or two quarterbacks that have a chance to become franchise players. In 2012, it was Andrew Luck and RGIII. Last year it was Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel. This year, it’s Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.

Both Mariota and Winston have the ability to become elite quarterbacks, and they proved that when they won the Heisman Trophy in 2013 and 2014. The real question is, who is going to be a better NFL quarterback?

Athleticism is a key factor every NFL team should look at when deciding if they want to draft Winston or Mariota. Mariota is more agile, explosive, and mature than any college quarterback I’ve seen. Against Florida State, Mariota rushed 62 yards on eight carries. Winston ran for a whopping -15 yards on eight carries. Don’t get me wrong, Winston can take a couple hits and still go, but he isn’t as elusive or energetic as Mariota. At the NFL Combine, Winston ran a 4.97 on the 40 yard dash, not slow but also not as fast as Mariota, who ran a 4.52. Mariota has a definite edge when you look at athleticism.

All professional athletes need to have a certain level of maturity. Winston simply doesn’t have that. According to, Winston stole crab legs from a grocery store, stood on a table and yelled an inappropriate phrase on campus, and got into a BB-gun fight in his apartment after being caught carrying a pellet gun. Not to mention Winston was accused of rape in 2013. Winston is a risk. His maturity, or rather lack of maturity, puts any team that drafts him at a high risk of having an arrested or suspended quarterback. Mariota hasn’t had any known slip-ups. As a Christian, he says he wants to represent his friends, family and team in a positive way, according to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“I think, as an athlete, when you’re able to go out there and have the abilities that the Lord has blessed you with,” Mariota told the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, “you want to glorify Him. You want to go out there to represent Him in the right light. To represent your family in the right light and to do that through His power.”

When considering who they want to draft, teams have to look at the stats. If you look at each quarterbacks’ best season, you can really compare their skills. In Winston’s 2013 season, you see that he led the FBS in QBR with 89.4, averaged 10.6 yards per pass attempt and led his team to a 14-0 season, winning a national championship. In Mariota’s 2014 season, he led the FBS in total QBR with 91.9, averaged 10.2 yards per pass attempt and touchdowns with 55. Even though Oregon didn’t win the national championship last year, Mariota didn’t play one bad game for the Ducks. Mariota is better than Winston in the long run. Winston may have had a stellar freshman season, but his productivity dropped off his sophomore year. So once again I give the edge to Mariota.

Put simply, Mariota is the right quarterback to draft this year. If Tampa Bay drafts Winston over him, they’re losing one of the best quarterbacks that have entered the draft since Peyton Manning. Mariota is reliable, skilled and mature. He’s the best choice for any team who needs a franchise quarterback.




Winston will be by far the better QB due to overall football knowledge

By: Brad Davis

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Head coaches lose their jobs if they draft a quarterback who doesn’t prove himself. Rex Ryan, Chan Gailey, Leslie Frazier, Mike Mularkey, Mike Munchak… Should I name more?

The draft can bring in superstars, and it can bring in busts.

This year, one of the two top quarterbacks is bound to be a bust in the NFL. Remember the 1998 draft? Wait, we don’t because we were either in diapers or not born yet. Recap: Indianapolis Colts drafted Peyton Manning number one overall, and the San Diego Chargers drafted Ryan Leaf second overall. Guess what? Manning will end up being a first-ballot hall-of-famer, and Leaf was in the NFL for three seasons. Now, considered one of the biggest busts in history.

In the 2009 draft, it was Matthew Stafford vs. Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is the bust and Stafford is the Pro Bowler. Andrew Luck vs. RGIII.

This year, it’s Oregon Ducks QB Marcus Mariota vs. Florida State QB Jameis Winston.

One of the sports writers believes that Mariota is the sure first number-one overall pick because of three things: maturity, athleticism and stats.

I am looking at three things, as well. Wins, offensive system and football knowledge.

Sure, Mariota has 35 total wins, but he doesn’t have a championship win. Winston, on the other hand, has 26 wins and a championship win. Championship is in favor of Winston.

Mariota played in a spread, first read and react offense at Oregon. What I mean is that as soon as he snapped the ball, he knew where he was throwing, which put his completion percentage on those style of throws at 75.5 percent. The issue is that the NFL is a very complex game with only one coach who runs that style of offense (Mariota’s college coach for two years, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.) When Mariota had to progress his reads, his completion percentage dropped 20 percent because of his lack of ability to read the defense.

Winston played in a pro-style offense at FSU under Jimbo Fisher that allowed him a 66 percent completion percentage, which is lower than Mariota’s 68 percent. But, Winston was able to read defenses, and he had to throw more passes than Mariota during the two years they were in the NCAA at the same time (Mariota 549 out of 831, Winston 562 out of 851) because of the lack of run game compared to the Ducks. Winston wins the pro-offense category.

Lastly, football knowledge comes into play. That category is backed up by the lack of being able to read defensive coverage. All of the stats from the past two paragraphs back this theory.

Okay, so Winston is immature, and indecisive between baseball and football and he is very cocky, BUT, Winston can mature more, develop his throwing motion- which is a small issue- be a franchise quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the first pick, and  he can be an all time great. Mariota won’t necessarily be a bad NFL QB, but Winston will be better.