With the Senior Bowl taking place this week, two of the most noticeable names in Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are still the focus of many Bucs fans. Those two names were also on the mind of ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper yesterday during a conference call with media from around the country.
"If Winston checks out between now and late April on that end (mental) and you can reconcile all that, that it is all behind him and he's matured and it's not going to happen again, then he goes number one," Kiper said of the Bucs decision with the 1st pick.
Kiper was not and has not been down on Mariota. Kiper just feels the pay off on Mariota might take some time to come to fruition.
"He's got the arm, he's got the size, he's got the character, the intelligence, and the work ethic, all the things you need to fit into pretty much any offense down the road," Mel Kiper Jr. said of Marcus Mariota. "If you want to force-feed him, obviously he's not going to be ready."
Marcus Mariota is best suited for a GM/coach combo that feel extra secure in their positions and with an organization that has a quarterback to be a buffer until Mariota is ready. Of course, the other caveat is Chip Kelly because Mariota would be able to step in and run his offense immediately.
To the average fan or media member, you look at Mariota and see size, arm strength, speed, and an incredible TD to INT ratio, making you believe he can step in and succeed immediately. The reality is that Mariota does not take snaps from center, he does not command a huddle because Oregon never huddled, he doesn't audible at the line of scrimmage, and has not gone through pro-style progressions.
"If you want him to play right away and be an impactful 2nd year guy, then you're asking too much," Kiper said of Mariota.
It's no knock on Mariota, these are just important parts of an NFL quarterback that he never had to do in college, which is why it will take some time for him to develop.
Once a quarterback like Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota is selected in the top 10 picks, the clock starts on the GM and coach that selected them. This is the main reason most analysts are starting to flip to Jameis Winston being the first overall selection. If it is going to take Mariota three or four years to near his true potential, then the current regime that drafts him for an organization is only drafting him for the next regime.
Jameis Winston is more suited to step in and play right away and while Mariota might possess more natural athletic talent, Winston possesses more natural quarterback talent. If Winston's character comes back clean enough, I believe the Bucs will bring in the quarterback that can help them as soon as possible.
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