The Decision To Draft Marcus Mariota Or Jameis Winston Should Include Trust Print E-mail
Written by Denis Krusos   
Sunday, 22 February 2015 12:20



Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston clearly are the top two quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a big decision to make.  Nothing sets a franchise back further than making a mistake with a high 1st round selection on a quarterback. 


Quarterback is a unique and the most important position in the game.  A team has to look at the short and long-term future of a player.  Character is paramount at this position because the quarterback is the natural leader of the team.  There is no bigger distraction to a team than a quarterback facing league discipline issues. 


The biggest knock on Marcus Mariota from a non-football standpoint is that he is quiet and may not have enough alpha-dog in him to lead a professional football team.  A NFL quarterback does not have to have the take-charge personality of a Philip Rivers or Tom Brady to excel at the position.  In fact, mild-mannered quarterbacks such as, Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have won titles.  Joe Montana was known for his cool rather than being a rah-rah type of leader.  Marcus Mariota will earn the respect of his teammates through his work ethic.  His teammates will likely also draw strength and confidence from him in pressure situations due to his natural poise and calmness.


Jameis Winston decided to enter the 2015 NFL Draft as a redshirt sophomore after a rocky off-the-field career at Florida State.  His behavior ranged from shoplifting crab legs to shouting obscenities in public to being accused of sexual assault.  He was cleared of the sexual assault by the university and prosecutors did not file charges.  However, just because Winston dodged this bullet and is talking about making better decisions does not mean he no longer represents a serious character risk. 


What happens when he has his multi-million dollar contract and gets into a bad fight with his girlfriend or wife?  What happens when he goes out and there is an argument at a nightclub?  Can a team be confident that Winston will always make the right decisions off the field?  All it takes is one bad night of decision-making and a team has a mess on their hands.  His behavior at Florida State clearly was that of a person who felt entitled.  The fact that he is going to be a very high 1st round pick and perhaps the top overall pick only reinforces the belief that he is entitled.  He could be saying to himself that he got away with it and will in the future.  The owner, gm and head coach that select Winston have to wonder if they will be receiving that early morning phone call from police regarding Winston at some point. 


A lack of character has derailed several top quarterback prospects in past drafts.  Ryan Leaf’s immaturity and hot temper ruined his career.  Cade McNown preferred chasing girls to studying his playbook.  JaMarcus Russell was lazy and unmotivated.  Character is extremely important at the quarterback position. 


On the other hand, a team’s brain trust can all rest easy at night regarding Marcus Mariota.  The former Oregon star is seriously like a Roger Staubach or Steve Young type from a character standpoint.  That has to be appealing to know that you are handing the keys to your franchise to just a terrific person who happens to be a gifted athlete.  The Bucs should choose Marcus Mariota to be the face of their franchise for the next dozen years.


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