Tennessee Titans flashback: 2015 NFL Draft retrospective
By Ravi Konjeti
Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota debate
Both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were Heisman winners and led their teams to the college football playoffs. Winston had a phenomenal college career and would have been the unquestioned first pick if it were not his off-field antics and legal troubles.
Besides his character, NFL.com’s draft profile on Winston also highlighted his penchant for throwing into tight windows and his inaccuracy in the intermediate passing game. Ironically, the profile also compared him to Eli Manning.
In hindsight, the negatives have played through in the NFL for Winston. Past troubles kept Winston out parts of last season and have kept him on rocky ground with the franchise.
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While Winston has put up solid numbers in his career, he has struggled to reduce his turnovers, similar to his comp Eli Manning. Winston has shown very little ability with actually leading a franchise and new head coach Bruce Arians has not really been able to change it this season despite breakout star Chris Godwin and Mike Evans on the roster.
The other quarterback, Marcus Mariota, was a unique prospect. Mariota showed the ability to make quick throws, scramble with top-line speed, and keep turnovers to a minimum. The major hit on Mariota in his NFL.com draft profile was his lack of experience playing in a NFL-ready offense in college and his accuracy when driving the ball.
Similarly, the accuracy has plagued Mariota throughout his career, particularly with his tendency to sail the ball over receivers. Mariota has not shown an ability to stay healthy in his career or show growth in developing pocket presence.
While both quarterbacks came into the draft as top two prospects, their careers have not quite panned out as expected. The Titans had multiple options with DT Leonard Williams and OT Brandon Scherff both available; however, the Titans stayed pat and took their future quarterback. Most interesting of these possibilities is the rumored trades for the 2nd pick.