Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: Who Will Prove to Be the Better QB? By Ben Kercheval , Featured Columnist Dec 15, 2014 Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: Who Will Prove to Be the Better QB? There won't be a more compelling matchup of quarterbacks this bowl season than the one in the Rose Bowl. "The Granddaddy of Them All" features, as anticipated, the latest Heisman Trophy winner, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, and last year's Heisman winner, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. On top of that, it's likely going to be the final college game for one of them, as the winner will move on to the College Football Playoff championship. Some might be so bold to say that's a decent storyline. Mariota's numbers have been not only eye-popping, but consistent: 68.3 completion percentage, 3,783 yards, 10.2 yards per attempt, 669 rushing yards, 5.72 yards per rush, 53 total touchdowns, two interceptions and a partridge in a pear tree. Winston's numbers are down this season, a reflection of—but not necessarily a reason for—Florida State's inconsistent play. On the year, Winston has a 65.4 completion percentage, 3,559 yards, 8.4 yards per attempt, 27 total touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Which one is primed for the better game?Marcus Mariota vs. Jameis WinstonPlayer Completion % Passing Yards Yards per Attempt Rushing Yards Total Touchdowns Interceptions Marcus Mariota 68.3 3,783 10.2 669 53 2 Jameis Winston 65.4 3,559 8.4 80 27 17 cfbstats.comThe Case for MariotaHe hasn't had a bad game all year. Not one. That's amazing considering how hit-and-miss the Ducks' offensive line has been this season. Oregon has allowed 2.23 sacks per game, but there was a stretch in late September into October when, because of injuries, Oregon had a hard time keeping a clean pocket for Mariota. The closest any team has been to making Mariota "just a guy" was Arizona in a 31-24 win over the Ducks in early October. Mariota was still 20-of-32 for 276 passing yards and a pair of scores, but was a non-factor running the ball and forced into two fumbles on sacks. The flip side to all of that is that Mariota has faced just two truly stout defenses: Stanford and Michigan State. The Cardinal and Spartans rank first and 14th in yards per passing attempt allowed, respectively, and second and 12th in points per game allowed. Granted, Mariota played well in both of those games, throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan State and 258 yards with four total touchdowns against Stanford. The results, however limited, indicate he's not a quarterback that thrives only on weaker competition. What makes Mariota so good is his decision-making. Mistakes are a rarity for Mariota, but when he does show signs of being human, it doesn't affect him."He's freakishly smart, especially when it comes to football," Ducks offensive coordinator Scott Frost told Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com in November. "He sees things and processes things so quickly that he just doesn't make a ton of mistakes." Florida State is decent enough in getting takeaways. The Seminoles defense averages one interception a game; it's holding on to the ball that's a problem for FSU. Athletically, Florida State matches up well with Oregon. Can the Noles finally fluster Mariota? No one has done it yet. The Case for WinstonIt's become impossible to talk about Winston solely as an on-the-field product. If you conducted an approval-rating survey of Winston like you would for a president, the results would be bad. There are a lot of people who don't like him because of his off-the-field antics, if you want to call them that.Of course, those incidents—the shoplifting, the BB gun fight, etc.—are microscopic in the bigger question of whether Winston sexually assaulted a woman two years ago. (The results from Winston's code of conduct hearing should be known within the next few weeks, according to Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel.)As a result, everything Winston does, like push a referee out of the way during a game, gets magnified. How others view Winston as a football player is done through the lens of his personal life. Additionally, the perception of Mariota has become that of an anti-Winston. But make no mistake: Winston is still a top-tier college quarterback. According to B/R's draft guru Matt Miller, Winston would be a top-five selection from a grade standpoint. It's true that Winston has made some bad decisions this season. Though interceptions are a team stat in that a number of things can contribute to them, Winston's four interceptions against Florida last month were mostly, if not all, on him. However, there are a couple of things to consider. The Seminoles didn't have much of a running game until freshman Dalvin Cook emerged in the second half of the season. That was putting pressure on Winston as a passer. Florida State is also breaking in some freshman receivers. While guys like Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane are full of promise, they are going to make freshman mistakes like running the wrong route. That can result in a pick. That said, Winston's ball placement is impeccable. He makes some difficult throws look easy. There's something to be said for that. He's not a gifted runner like Mariota, but he's athletic enough to move around in the pocket and make plays with his feet when he has to. In short: Winston didn't magically morph from the most outstanding player in college football a year ago to a nobody. In fact, Winston went from his worst game of the season against Florida to his best against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game (21-of-30 for 309 yards and three touchdowns). Throw out the season stats mentioned above because this one is a close call. A month to prepare might be Winston's best friend. However, there just hasn't been anything this season that indicates Mariota will be anything other than brilliant. It's a safe choice, sure, but not necessarily one that is indicative of the outcome. The Rose Bowl could actually become a game where an unsung hero, perhaps Cook or Royce Freeman of Oregon, takes over the game. The question will be whether Florida State's defense can do two things: play disciplined, especially against tempo, and shut down Oregon's receivers in pass defense. The Seminoles don't get into the backfield much (1.31 sacks per game, last in the ACC), so Mariota could have plenty of time to throw. The more an offense has time, the more likely it's going to make a play. That's all Mariota has done this year. Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com.
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-videos/0ap3000000400244/Marcus-Mariota-analysisAll eyes will continue to be on Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota as they appear to be the top quarterback prospects in college football.If both declare for the 2015 draft, the debate about which is the better prospect could go on for months, especially with Michigan State's Connor Cook hinting that he won't be in the mix for the NFL next year.When teams compare those guys, they'll go down a checklist of traits. They're very different players. As a pocket passer, Winston's more refined. In terms of athletic ability, give the edge to Mariota because of his ability to make plays with his legs. Character-wise, Mariota has a big edge -- there will be a lot of digging into Winston's background, and his off-field issues are well documented. Mariota earns rave reviews when it comes to character.I think the team that drafts Mariota has to commit to using him as a runner and not just a pure pocket passer. That's a big part of the reason why he's compared to NFL QBs like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson.Now, Winston is coming off arguably the worst half of football in his college career. He struggled mightily before showing what he's capable of in the second half as he led FSU back to beat Louisville. As far as playing from the pocket and delivering the ball accurately, I think Winston is further along in his development than Mariota.On Saturday against Stanford, the thing that stood out most about Mariota's game was his running ability. He showed an electric burst, carrying nine times for 85 yards and two touchdowns. I've been clamoring for him to be more aggressive running the ball because that's what makes him so special. I liked how aggressive he was vs. Stanford.It was a positive night for Mariota overall, but he missed a handful of easy throws. His arm strength was impressive. He drives the ball between the hashes and is great throwing on the move. His footwork in the pocket is good, too. He has to be more consistent accuracy-wise, though. It's not egregious, but it's an area he really needs to hone in on.
NFL Draft Watch: King says Winston is ’10 times’ the prospect Mariota is. By Eric Edholm October 23, 2014 2:48 PM. The conversation will grow over the next six months. So let’s start it early.You’re a quarterback-needy team and your choice is this: Florida State's Jameis Winston or Oregon's Marcus Mariota.On the surface, it appears easy. Winston has trouble written all over him, with off-field problems galore, and Mariota, the clean record and clean-throwing (zero interceptions in 188 passes this season) quarterback, is the obvious choice.Right?It’s not that clear-cut. Not at all.If we are to boil the players down simply on football talent and quarterbacking potential on the next level, Winston — not Mariota — might be the more enticing prospect.So says former NFL quarterback and Yahoo NFL analyst Shaun King. I asked King to ignore character completely, for argument's sake, and strictly grade each player on their talent and NFL upside.“In my opinion, if I am grading them, Winston is 10 times the prospect Mariota is,” King said.What, then, makes Winston so special?“Physically, he has great size — 6-4, very sturdy build. Built like a pro prospect. Big-time arm — can make all the throws. Great intangibles. Winner. Big-time, big-platform résumé.“He plays his best on the brightest stages. Last year in the Clemson game, the second half of the national title game, this year’s Notre Dame game. Early in the season, second half against [Oklahoma State], he always plays his best in those moments. He just has a knack for it.”Not that King is down on Mariota. There’s a lot to like, he says.“I think he has elite athleticism,” King said. “Whereas Winston has great athleticism for a guy his size, Mariota has elite athleticism. He has a good arm; he doesn’t have as big an arm as Winston. He has good size. He’s tall. He’s smart, too.”King is careful not to make too deep a character assessment on either player but says you can tell a lot about their personalities based on the way they play.“The difference between the two … Winston is a football player. He rises to the occasion. He has that emotion in a player that you’re looking for,” King said. “That’s a question about Mariota, as is him playing his best when the lights are brightest.“The difference in their personalities comes through in how they play. Mariota is really laid back. He plays like that. At some point, I think in football I think you have to be ratcheted up a little bit. I’ve never seen him call out one of his teammates for messing up. Winston is the polar opposite.”We don't yet know what Mariota's plans are following his junior season, but reports have surfaced that Winston is planning to leave school after this season. At this point, it would be a surprise if either returns. NFL scouts already have done work on these underclassmen with the idea that they will be available in the 2015 NFL draft.I suggest a Winston comparison of Ben Roethlisberger and a Mariota comparison of Alex Smith, or perhaps a slightly better-running version of Smith. King agrees on both — to a certain extent — but says he thinks he knows whose personality Mariota is most similar to.“See, I think Mariota, personality-wise, is like Joe Flacco. He has a really laid-back off-field demeanor,” King said.And as for Winston …“Yeah, [Winston is] a special athlete, but he’s Big Ben special not RG3 special. For a big guy, he’s a great athlete. He’s got a lot of Big Ben to him. Gets out of a lot of sacks. He’ll pick up a first down [with his legs].”In terms of temperament and being prone to extend plays, even when that’s not the best idea, the Roethlisberger comparison also works for King.“Absolutely,” King said. “In my opinion, that would be one weakness right now. He’s overaggressive at times. There are some inconsistencies in his decision-making. But you’ll take that. A lot of great ones have that.”Winston is a pro-style quarterback, King said, and Mariota still has not shown that in his mind.“I do think there are some question marks about [whether] can Mariota adapt to a different system,” King said. “If I was a team that was really interested in him, I would have to be convinced that he can come from under center, take five- and seven-step drops, and can throw an NFL route tree.“Winston makes those NFL-type passes. Mariota doesn’t. He throws a lot of screens. He throws a lot of gimmicky stuff with guys running wide open because of their tempo. The windows Mariota is throwing into are nowhere near as tight as the ones Winston is throwing into.”And yet, there still remains the daunting character issue, which could be a game-changer. There will be no dirt on Mariota, unless people nitpick with his laid-back style. As for Winston, it’s not going to be pretty — from his sexual assault allegations to bouts of immaturity with suspensions at Florida State.King says that could be a game-changing factor for their draft stocks. But in his mind, there isn’t enough dirt that he knows of to knock Winston down too far next spring. King’s belief: Teams will be enamored with his talent.“If you’re asking will it affect him with some teams? Absolutely. Do I think he falls outside the top 10? Absolutely not,” King said. “Would it impact me if I was making that decision? No, I’d take him No. 1.”
S&B,Thanks for providing this article.I don't put a lot of value into it as author states character as his first evaluation tool on a top 5 prospect. Eh, if we drafted guys off character as a priority guys like AJ McCaron would be first overall picks.Addtionally, the opinion that Mariota has better pocket presence/poise is silly. I am not sure I have seen a QB perform better in crunch time than Jameis. I believe even the strongest supporters of Mariota on this board would concede it is generally excepted Jameis has excellent pocket presence (exceeding that of Mariota), and poise. Furthermore, to suggest that Mariota is more accurate despite having lower completion percentage and being asked to do less in terms of downfield throwing is just silly. Winston's 70% completion rate is a videogames statistic. Oftentimes, due to significant talent difference, NFL receivers have to be expected to "go up and get it" and QBs are expected to make jump ball throws. Trying to put Mariota even close to Winston's level in arm strength is crazy silly too. Mariota rarely makes aggressive throws so it is impossible to predict how he would be at the pro level in this category. Mariota just isn't asked to rely on arm talent as Winston is. I think its clear we can measure Winston's arm talent, we cannot measure arm talent on Mariota. Trying to paint a portrait of similar size between the two is silly as well. 15 pounds is a significant amount of weight in fighting class and in football. Maybe Mariota can grow into that 6'4" frame but right now, Jameis is better equipped to handle the stress of NFL hits.Character is clearly the thing weighing Jameis down. I am sure if Jameis was squeaky clean like Mariota, the majority of fans here, as well as all analysts would have Jameis as the consensus #1 overall pick. I think it comes down to, do you think Jameis will grow up, or do you think he will be out of the NFL in 1-3 years?
Who’s the Better NFL Draft Prospect, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston?Marcus Mariota, Jameis WinstonScott Olmos-USA TODAY SportsTwo quarterbacks are starting to really separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the 2015 NFL Draft class. You can probably correctly assume they’re Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston.Now, before we even go further, we have to realize that they’re still underclassmen as Mariota is a redshirt junior and Winston a redshirt sophomore, so they may not even be in next May’s draft. But considering they’re both looking like top-five picks, let’s assume they’ll go pro, just for sake of the argument. Who should go No. 1?We’ll break them down in a few ways: size, arm strength, accuracy, mechanics, mobility, durability and intangibles.As far as size goes, it’s pretty close with Winston only having a slight edge. Mariota is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and Winston 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. Winston does have a thicker frame but it’s not like the former can’t put on 10 pounds of muscle in the future. This is practically a wash.In regards to arm strength, also close to a wash when both set their feet properly. Both have plus-strength arms and the ability to make all the throws you need to make at the NFL level. Their arm strength is also evident when throwing on the run. If you had to give an edge to one, it’d go to Winston, who generates a ton of velocity on his deep and intermediate throws.Accuracy is a