Comparing Winston, Mariota to past Heismans

There is a reason Marcus Mariota is gaining momentum, and why Mariota and Jameis Winston are considered the elite of the 2015 QB class. Scout.com's Dave-Te' Thomas compares the efficiency stats in numerous categories to those of past Heisman winners.

This report is different than other comparisons charts. While the 2015 draft is a “two-horse race” at the quarterback position, I take a look at how the 2014 season performances by Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston match up to the 2008 Heisman Trophy performance by Sam Bradford at Oklahoma and the 2010 Heisman Trophy performance by Cam Newton. I examine each athlete’s performance in detailed categories, based on game averages or percentage of plays. The player and team averages are based on only the games those athletes played in during their mentioned season.


QUARTERBACK TALE OF THE TAPE
PLAYERSCHOOL SEASONHEIGHT WEIGHT40-YD
SAM BRADFORD Oklahoma2008 6:04.2236 4.72
CAM NEWTON Auburn2010 6:05.0248 4.60
MARCUS MARIOTA Oregon2014 6:03.6222 4.52
JAMEIS WINSTON Florida State 20146:03.6 2314.97


PASSING STATISTICS
PLAYERGP ATTCOMP PCTYARDS TDINT G/AVGPE
BRADFORD14 483328 67.914720 5008 337.14180.84
NEWTON14 280185 66.072854 3007 203.86182.05
MARIOTA15 445304 68.314454 4204 296.93181.74
WINSTON13 467305 65.313907 2518 300.54145.54
NOTE: GP indicates games played…ATT indicate pass attempts…COMP indicates pass completions…PCT indicates percentage of passes completed…G/AVG indicates average yards gained per game…PE indicate passing efficiency rate.


PASSING YARDAGE COMPARISON CHART
PLAYERYD/A RKYD/C RKTD/A RKTD/C RKPCT RKPE RKPTS TOT
BRADFORD09.77 214.39 210.35 215.24 267.91 2180.84 323 2
NEWTON10.19 115.43 110.71 116.22 166.07 3182.05 128 1
MARIOTA09.25 313.86 309.43 313.86 368.31 1181.74 221 3
WINSTON08.37 412.81 405.35 408.20 465.31 4145.54 412 4
NOTE:
YD/A indicates yards gained per pass attempt…RK indicates rank in that category…YD/C indicates yards gained per completion…RK indicates rank in that category…TD/A indicates ratio of touchdown passes per pass attempt…TD/C indicates percentage of touchdown passes per pass completion…PCT indicates percentage of passes completed…PE indicates passing efficiency rating…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth…TOT indicates that quarterback’s final ranking vs. the other four quarterbacks listed.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES
While generating aerial yards is important, other categories tell about a quarterback’s success more than just total numbers. Teams want their signal callers to be capable of averaging at least 9.0 yards per pass attempt (YD/A) and 13.5 yards per pass completion (YD/C). While some spread offenses usually call for shorter, quicker passes, thus keeping those figures down, you can always tell how well that passer will perform based on the yards gained via their scoring tosses (TD/C). Efficiency is critical, with the pass efficiency rating (PE) of 160.0 considered acceptable. Any numbers in the 180.0 range is rare, but three of the quarterbacks examined here produced those figures during their respective seasons mentioned.


RUSHING STATISTICS
PLAYERGP ATTYARDS YD/LSTAVG TD1ST 3RDTBL SACK
BRADFORD14 0420047 09301.12 05017 009003 09-093
NEWTON14 2641473 18905.58 20102 036018 23-152
MARIOTA15 1350770 18205.70 15056 011005 31-165
WINSTON13 0570065 17301.14 03013 000004 17-134
NOTE: YD/LST indicates total amount of yardage lost on rushing attempts…1ST indicates amount of carries resulting in first downs…3RD indicates amount of carries that converted third-down plays… TBL indicates times the quarterback was tackled for loss on a running play only…SACK indicates times the quarterback was sacked/yards lost


RUSHING COMPARISON CHART
PLAYERAVG RKLST RKTD RK1ST RK3RD RKTFL RKPTS TOT
BRADFORD01.12 406.64 10.36 31.21 30.64 30.86 121 3
NEWTON05.58 213.50 41.43 17.29 12.57 12.93 423 2
MARIOTA05.70 112.13 21.00 23.73 20.73 22.40 324 1
WINSTON01.14 313.31 30.23 41.00 40.00 41.62 216 4
NOTE: AVG indicates quarterback’s rushing average per play…RK indicates rank in that category (note-rank is based on average per game)…LST indicates yards lost rushing with the ball…TD indicates touchdown runs by the player (note-rank is based on average per game)…1ST indicates carries that produced first downs…3RD indicates amount of carries that converted third-down plays…TFL indicates total tackles of the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage (sacks and carries)…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth…TOT indicates that quarterback’s final ranking vs. the other four quarterbacks listed… NOTE-categories are based on average per game, except LST/TBL (average per rushing attempt)

READING BETWEEN THE LINES
Not all quarterbacks are “Colin Kaepernick,” capable of running for 4,000 yards in a career. The spread offense puts greater emphasis in quick-footed passers, much like Mariota. Newton was perhaps the only other quarterback in his draft class with the ability to match Kaepernick in the ball-toting area. Both Newton and Mariota were true scoring machines with their feet. While those opportunities were not as often for Newton at the pro level, both of these quarterbacks are recognized for their running ability by opposing defenses and are a valid threat to score, if given room to operate. Bradford and Winston were not known as solid ball carriers and their inability to move the chains gave defenses confidence that they did not have to squeeze the line of scrimmage as often as they had to do for Newton and Mariota. Now, running so often does lead to some negative aspects (TBL, SACK), but both Mariota and Newton operated behind offensive lines that had serious injury issues. At one stretch, Mariota had just one projected starter on the front wall playing in front of him. Newton was by far the best in gaining yards and also producing first downs (1ST). He was also highly successful on third-down runs. Winston was 0-for-5 in third-down rushing attempts.


OFFENSIVE IMPORTANCE COMPARISON CHART
PLAYERPTO TTOPCT RKPTD TTDPCT RKPDE TSDPCT RKPTS TOT
BRADFORD4767 767062.15 3055 09657.29 3099 10495.19 210 3
NEWTON4327 698961.91 4050 07269.44 1085 08995.51 112 1
MARIOTA5224 820563.67 2058 08667.44 2102 10894.44 311 2
WINSTON3972 586167.77 1031 05062.00 4080 08693.02 409 4
NOTE: TM figures are for only the games the player competed in.
NOTE: PTO indicates player’s total offense yardage…TTO indicates team’s total offense yardage…PCT indicates percentage of yardage player gained vs. that of his team…RK indicates rank in that category… PTD indicates total touchdowns responsible by the player…TTD indicates total touchdowns registered by the team’s offense…PCT indicates percentage of the team’s offensive touchdowns registered by the player…RK indicates rank in that category…PDE indicates amount of drives engineered by the player that resulted in scores (touchdowns/field goals)…TSD indicates amount of offensive drives by the team that resulted in scores… PCT indicates percentage of the team’s offensive scoring drives that the player was responsible for…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth…TOT indicates that quarterback’s final ranking vs. the other four quarterbacks listed…Note-This category is based on percentage of plays involved in to break any ties.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES
The field general needs to be the one player that the offense revolves around and I look for quarterbacks that can generate at least 60% of the team’s offensive success. Getting the team into the end zone, whether throwing, running or engineering those drives, is the ultimate goals for each signal caller, as you want that player to be responsible for at least 65% of the team’s touchdowns (PTD/TTD). The quarterback has to also be able to use all the tools available to him, and by using others to score it shows that player’s ability to capitalize on what the defense had to “offer” him on the field, and you want that passer to be responsible for engineering at least 95% of the drives that produced points for their team.


DRIVE ENGINEERING COMPARISON CHART
PLAYERPLY T/OFFG/AVG P/AVGTDR 3RDPCT 4THPCT
BRADFORD0525 4767340.50 09.08055 101/19751.26 12/2352.18
NEWTON0544 4327309.07 07.95050 086/16253.09 05/0862.50
MARIOTA0580 5224348.27 09.01058 098/19849.49 17/2860.71
WINSTON0524 3972305.54 07.58031 075/15648.08 00/0600.00


DRIVE ENGINEERING COMPARISON CHART
PLAYERT/OFF G/AVGRK P/AVGRK TDRRK 3/PCTRK 4/PCTRK PTSTOT
BRADFORD4767 340.502 09.081 3.931 51.262 52.183 211
NEWTON4327 309.073 07.953 3.573 53.091 62.501 193
MARIOTA5224 348.271 09.012 3.872 49.493 60.712 202
WINSTON3972 305.544 07.584 2.384 48.084 00.004 104
NOTE: TM figures are for only the games the player competed in. NOTE-PLY indicates amount of offensive plays the quarterback was involved in…T/OFF indicates total offensive yardage gained by the quarterback…G/AVG indicates average yards gain in total offense per game…RK indicates rank in that category…P/AVG indicates average yards gain in total offense per play… TDR indicates touchdowns responsible for (note-rank in this category is based on average of touchdowns responsible per game)...3RD indicates successful third-down plays engineered/total amount of third-down plays…PCT indicates percentage of successful third-down plays engineered…4TH indicates successful fourth-down plays engineered/total amount of third-down plays…PCT indicates percentage of successful fourth-down plays engineered…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth…TOT indicates that quarter-back’s final ranking vs. the other four quarterbacks listed…NOTE-ranking are based on percentages per game.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES
This chart shows the quarterback’s success engineering those drives. You want that player to average at least 300.0 yards in total offense per game, but the average per play should average at least 8.0 yards per snap. You also would want the quarterback to be successful in converting at least 50% of the team’s third-down attempts and 60% on fourth-down snaps.


NEGATIVE PLAYS COMPARISON CHART
PLAYERINT PCTRK IBRK ISCRK FUMRK FLSTRK TOSRK PBRK PTSTOT
BRADFORD08 1.665 012 012 011 011 012 0131 281
NEWTON07 2.504 023 023 062 022 023 0272 233
MARIOTA04 0.901 001 001 073 034 011 0393 281
WINSTON18 1.382 064 104 074 023 144 0694 174
NOTE: INT indicates total amount of interceptions thrown…PCT indicates percentage of pass attempts that resulted in interceptions…RK indicates rank in that category…IB indicates interceptions thrown when the team was behind in the scoring during the game…ISC indicates amount of passes intercepted that led to the opposition scoring because of that turnover…FUM indicates amount of times the player fumbled the ball…FLST indicates amount of times player turned the ball over due to that fumble…TOS indicates total amount of fumbles that led to the opposition scoring because of that turnover…PB indicates amount of passes the quarterback had deflected by the opposition vs. passes attempted…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth…TOT indicates that quarterback’s final ranking vs. the other four quarterbacks listed… Note-This category is based on percentage of plays involved in to break any ties.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES
This is one of the most important categories, at least where Winston is concerned. While some teams might openly state they are not concerned about his high amount of interceptions last year, those stating that are Pinocchio. They are concerned, as it leads to questions not only about his decision-making skills, but also his vision. Was this just a case of a young player trying to go for the “home run” or a player with poor ball management? Here is where I feel caution flags need to go up. Six of his interceptions came when the team was behind (IB) on the scoreboard. Ten of those interceptions were quickly converted into scoring drives by the opponent (ISC), meaning those errors cost Florida State 70 points. All told, he had 19 turnovers and the opponent then scored 14 times. Additionally, what is even more alarming that those high interception totals are the high amount of his passes that were knocked down by the opposition (69), with quite a few of them looking like certain interceptions, only to be dropped by the opponent. Nothing puts players in the doghouse with coaches and fans quicker than foolish decision-making that leads to turnovers. Just ask Jets fans their thoughts on Geno Smith, a player with the same foolish thought process that Winston displayed last season.


FINAL REPORT CARD
PLAYERGP PYCDEC RUCNPC OICPTS RK
BRADFORD, Samuel 1423 2121 2810 1033
NEWTON, Cameron 1428 1923 2312 1051
MARIOTA, Oregon 1521 2024 2811 1042
WINSTON, Jameis 1312 1016 1709 0644
AVERAGE14.0 21.017.5 21.024.0 10.594.0
NOTE: This chart lists the statistics compiled by each quarterback during their listed season…PYC indicates points scored in the above Passing Yardage Statistical Comparison category…DEC indicates points scored in the above Drive Engineering Statistical Comparison category…RUC indicates points scored in the above Rushing Statistical Comparison category…NPC indicates points scored in the above Negative Plays Statistical Comparison category…OIC indicates Offensive Importance Comparison category…PTS indicates total points scored from all of these categories…RK indicates final ranking, based on total points scored.

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