This is in response to an article posted by Brooklyn Beat Editor-In-Chief Justin Worsley. Worsley asserts, in the article, that the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, Marcus Mariota, has proven to be superior than the No. 1 pick, Jameis Winston.
Worsley points out Mariota’s superior running skills and deep ball, as well as his red zone production, as reasons for him being better. But I think there is more to this story. Here is why Winston is better than Mariota:
Winston is far more durable. Perhaps it is part of the nature of how often he scrambles, but Mariota has missed five games in his first two seasons. Mariota also sprained his shoulder during the National Championship game during his final season as an Oregon Duck. He may be talented, but the amount of abuse he subjects himself to, and the evidence that his body may not be able to withstand it, certainly makes him a liability as a franchise quarterback. Winston has yet to miss a game since entering the NFL. Though he also takes his fair share of abuse, Winston has yet to miss time due to an injury, mainly due to his 6’4”, 232-pound frame.
Winston has done it without a running game. In 2016, partially due to injury and partially due to ineffectiveness, Doug Martin was not a factor for the Tampa Bay offense. Mariota, on the other hand, was set up perfectly with his excellent offensive line and running back tandem of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Winston was forced to throw the ball 5.5 more times per game, yet kept the same completion percentage as Mariota. It could also be noted that, with the exception of Mike Evans, it would be difficult to name another receiver on last year’s roster. DeSean Jackson will be rolling into town this year to help improve those deep ball numbers. The point is that Winston has been asked to do so much more with so much less. And he has four games against the Panthers and Falcons. I would love to see his stats padded against that gauntlet of AFC South defenses.
Every player at Florida State and in Tampa Bay has loved playing with Winston. It’s not every day that a 22-year-old calls out a superstar defensive player about his leadership abilities and lives to tell the tale, but that’s what happened when Winston said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy needs to be more vocal. McCoy responded by saying, “That’s going to change because the face of the franchise came to me and said, ‘Hey, listen. If we’re going to win, we need you to do this, OK?’ Our quarterback said this is what he needs, so this is what I’m going to do.”
Look, you can’t go wrong with either. One guy has a Brett Favre ceiling, the other could be Steve Young. It’ll be fun to re-visit this one in 10 years, two Winston MVPs and no ligaments in Mariota’s knees.