Quarterbacks were featured on Saturday, at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and they didn’t disappoint. If I had to rate what I saw, I would give the slight edge to Florida State’s Jameis Winston, with Oregon’s Marcus Mariota clearly rated 1B.
Tennessee Titan General Manager, Ruston Webster, and Head Coach, Ken Whisenhunt were in attendance, complete with field glasses, and taking notes.
What they saw, was what everyone has already talked about, that the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner was by far, the best athlete, and the 2013 Heisman winner, the best pro-ready quarterback.
Mariota beat all quarterbacks in the 40 yard dash, clocking a solid 4.52 with his first run, and showed he was superior in the high jump at 36 inches, which was good for a tie for third place among quarterbacks. He was the fastest since Robert Griffin the third, who posted a 4.41 in 2012.
Winston, on the other hand ran a 4.97, which ranked 12th among the quarterbacks.
As anticipated, it was during the passing drills which are setup to test a quarterbacks ability to throw to spots on the field, that Jameis showed he was the most NFL ready quarterback on the field.
Former St. Louis Rams, and Arizona Cardinals Quarterback, Kurt Warner said Winston’s footwork was superior with his drops, and he was getting in perfect position to throw the football.
Winston preformed all the throws with ease, showing no pain in his suspect throwing shoulder, but excelled in long throws, down field.
His ball was delivered time-after-time on target, and very catchable. Wide Receiver prospects seemed to gather around the Florida State standout, and appeared to perform well when he was throwing the ball.
Winston, clearly has the “it factor” presence on the field and appears to have the leadership qualities that most NFL franchises are looking for.
Jameis Winston came to this Combine, took on every challenge with professionalism, and answered every question asked of him.
NFL Insiders at ESPN are saying that if Jameis Winston is available with the second pick in the NFL Draft, he should be in Titan’s Blue when the 2015 season starts.
Tom Gower had this to say in his Bold Moves for AFC South Moves post:
"With the second pick in the draft, the Titans can select one of those top two quarterbacks. Ken Whisenhunt prefers pocket passers, which makes Jameis Winston the better choice. He is similar in some ways to Ben Roethlisberger, whom Whisenhunt coached his first couple of seasons. He carries with him some risk because of his past off-field behavior, but if the Titans feel comfortable with him as their face of the franchise he looks as if he’d be a perfect fit on the field (that is, if the Bucs don’t draft him No. 1)."
120 Sports NFL Analyst David Carr thinks, even though Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach, Lovie Smith is a traditionalist, and would love to have a pocket-passer like Jameis Winston, others within the organization want to run a hurry-up spread offense.
This is a role that could better be filled by taking Marcus Mariota with the first pick.
I’ll have to admit, before watching how Jameis Winston went about his business at the NFL Combine, I was clearly ready for the Tennessee Titans to pick USC DE Leonard Williams with the second pick, and get on with the business of making this defense better.
But now, I’m not so sure that Tennessee shouldn’t take a hard look at Jameis Winston, if available, and consider giving him the keys to the kingdom.
Even though everyone loves Zach Mettenberger, the Titans have not been set at quarterback since Steve McNair, in the 2002/2003 season, And no quarterback has made more than 10 consecutive starts since.
Maybe it’s time to turn the page in Music City, and draft a quarterback that brings instant relevancy back to an organization that has had nothing to talk about for almost a decade.