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    • Skull and Bones

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      Marcus Mariota Or Jameis Winston: Who's The Better Prospect?By David_Wyatt ? @D_wyatt13  on Oct 29 2014, 5:00p  667    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY SportsWith Geno Smith sinking to new levels of ineptitude in his three 1st quarter interceptions against the Buffalo Bills, the question of the 2015 draft eligible quarterbacks was always likely to come up. So I've decided to post a very early look at two of college's finest QB's and what makes them tick.? Tweet  (24)  ?Share  (97)  ? Share      The word in college football is that both Mariota and Winston will leave Oregon and Florda State respectively and enter the 2015 NFL draft. Let me preface this whole article my stating categorically that there are more QB prospects worth looking at in this draft than just those two. Guys like Connor Cook from Michigan State, Brett Hundley from UCLA and Garrett Grayson (a personal favorite of mine) from Colorado State all have talent and when we get closer to the draft, we'll start to take a closer look at all of these guys. However, at this moment in time, it is generally agreed that Mariota and Winston are top 5 prospects and with the Jets sitting at 1-7 and experiencing horrible quarterback play, it's logical to ask the question in the headline.When evaluating a quarterback prospect, I'll always look at the following:•Character•Size•Arm Strength•Accuracy•Delivery/Release•Running Ability•QB Intelligence•Drop Back/Feet•Pocket Presence/Poise•LeadershipSo if you'll stay with me throughout. I'm going to focus on each aspect and give you my thoughts. I expect many won't agree, but that's why every team's draft board is different. I wrote an article some time ago (2010) about "Trusting The System: The NFL Scout" which highlighted a few aspects of scouting in general. Everyone has their favorite prospects, the guys you'll defend to the end. I always defended Harrison Smith, as well as a number of other prospects over the years, most of them from Notre Dame. I always respect opinions of others even if I don't agree with them, all the observations below are my own and based on the games I've witnessed.Character When I think of the two players, I think of two entirely different prospects who will bring entirely different qualities to your team. It confuses me when people tell me to take character out of it, that's not how you evaluate players. You have to include character because that can cause a mountain of problems and issues that permeate throughout your franchise. Marcus Mariota has an outstanding character, a nice approachable guy who studies hard, keeps his nose clean and understands he is the leading figure of a major FBS program who can't afford to lose him to silly immature mistakes. Jameis Winston obviously has some growing up to do, he has been caught doing several silly things that have cost him game time and respect.The character issues with Jameis Winston are quite concerning. He was accused of sexual assault, and although he was never charged there was a big investigation into irregularities of the police investigation. I don't want to get into this, but look closely and something doesn't seem right. He brought a BB gun onto campus and shot at squirrels. He has on numerous occasions shoplifted small items and earlier this year he was suspended for an entire game after a vulgar incident at the student union. I've read numerous quotes from scouts, GM's who say his character is a red flag and the best thing he can do is stay in school and mature as a person. Some will say it's just a kid being a kid, I disagree, after all I don't want to put the keys to the franchise's future in the hands of a kid.That's character, personality and maturity. I don't think anyone can argue that Marcus Mariota is by far, the more accomplished in his regard and the more reliable player off the field. Whether you put much importance on that or not, we live in the social media age where everything is caught on video, it's far more important to have a clean character now than it was in the 1990's.Better prospect in this category: Marcus Mariota SizeBoth prospects possess excellent size for the position. Marcus Mariota is 6'4 219lb's and Jameis Winston is 6'4 and 230lb's. Winston possesses a better build and reminds a lot of people of Big Ben, which I can understand. Mariota has a leaner frame but he still has enough strength to work through tackles. Winston however has the broader shoulders, the thicker waist and uses his size to avoid a lot of pressures and potential sacks. There really isn't a lot to choose from between them, they both have the height but Winston has the build. When both player evaluations come in at the end of the college season, size will be listed as a strength for both.Winston  © Melina Vastola | 2014 Oct 18Better prospect in this caegory: Jameis WinstonArm StrengthFor some reason, some people seem to suggest that Mariota has a weak arm because  the majority of his throws in college only travel a short distance. This is simply a false assumption based on offensive system. Mariota while not elite has above average arm strength and I've seen him throw the ball down field with ease. Although he works out of a spread offense at Oregon, and a lot of the throws are on quick reads and behind the line of scrimmage, that doesn't mean he can't throw down field. At times he has had to throw down field and his arm strength has never been an issue in any game I've witnessed. If you're rating the arm strength out of 10, you're probably giving Marcus a very solid 7.5.This is a category that Winston really excels in. In 10th grade, Winston could throw a football 70 yards through the air. His first year in college he was throwing balls over frat houses. The video that is available on youtube shows him slinging a ball a fair distance with ease. Andrew Luck has a once in a generation arm when it comes to arm strength, however Winston isn't far away from that. He constantly throws the ball down-field as FSU and he makes every single throw with zip. It's very rare to see a ball under-thrown when it's coming out of his hand. Some times he puts too much mustard on the shorter throws, making it a little difficult for his receivers to catch the ball.However that's not the question here. Rating his arm strength out of 10, you're probably giving him a very good 9.#  Pure Arm StrengthBetter prospect in this caegory: Jameis WinstonAccuracyAgain, some will try to argue that the superb accuracy that Marcus Mariota exhibits is down entirely to the offense he runs. I've seen a lot of Oregon games this year and last year and that's simply not true. Yes, running a spread offense is always going to help a QB but when asked to thrown down field, make post-snap reads and deliver the ball to the correct spot, Mariota is at the top of the college QB chart. I've seen him make accurate throws on the run, to the outside, over the middle, down the sideline, in the flats, on check downs, on hot reads and going deep. His ball placement is among the elite, one of the finest I've seen since I started watching prospects over a decade ago. He has enjoyed 68.5% (2012), 63.5% (2013) and 68.8% (2014) completion percentages in college. His ability to spot the ball in the face of pressure means he has a very valuable asset that a lot of teams will like when they come to evaluate him for their teams.Currently, Jameis Winston is enjoying a very accurate season with Florida State. Last year he enjoyed a 66.9% completion record and this year he is currently throwing 70.6% completion. However saying that, his ball placement isn't half as good as Mariota's and he often throws balls up for grabs with plenty of air under it. Luckily last year he had Kelvin Benjamin who helped out a lot on those jump balls. Now that is not to say that Winston is inaccurate, not at all. His accuracy on deep throws is elite, he sometimes misses on the intermediate throws over the middle, which come down to timing, but with the completion percentage, you can see that's not a major issue. I don't think Winston will maintain his 70% completion record but he'll end up around the 65% mark.This is a very close call for who I consider to have the better accuracy, however in terms of ball placement, I have to go with:  Better prospect in this category: Marcus Mariota Delivery/ReleaseMarcus Mariota excels in the offense of Oregon because he has an excellent, clean, compact and quick throwing motion that doesn't deviate much from throw to throw, his quick and compact release allows him to throw with excellent timing and get the ball in the hands of his receivers quickly, what a spread offense is all about and what will be expected from a quarterback entering into a west coast offense. He has a high point of release that allows balls to travel with zip to their targets without danger of being tipped and intercepted. I really like Mariota's motion and his throwing motion is ready for the NFL.Jameis Winston has a troubling motion that I really don't like. It looks a lot slower and elongated. When throwing quick read passes, especially over the middle, his elongated motion causes some timing issues. Again he doesn't have a Tebow motion or anything of the sort, but his release is a little wider than you'd like and with it being a little slower, it may cause a few issues at the next level when he comes under a lot more pressure than he's ever experienced in college. I don't think it's a major issue and he still has a high enough release point, but he does have a tendency to fall off his throws. This one is pretty straight forward for me:Better prospect in this category: Marcus Mariota Running AbilityMarcus Mariota is by and large one of the finest running quarterbacks I've seen when it comes to a guy who is just as talented with his arm. His ability to not only spot the gaps but accelerate through them make him a home-run threat in both facets of the game, running and passing. Over the course of his career he has had 752 yards, 5 touchdowns (2012), 715 yards, 9 touchdowns (2013) and 325 yards, touchdowns (2014, so far). He has excellent speed, tremendous athletic ability a enough mobility to scare the living daylights out of defensive coordinators. He's a very smart runner in that he protects the football and has a second gear too, he also has some moves in the open field. He avoids contact as much as he can and his ability to throw on the run make him an elite prospect for teams that like to move their QB's around the pocket and work off play-action and bootlegs.  SupermanWinston is not a running quarterback but he does have the athletic ability and mobility to extend plays with his legs when needed. He hasn't really run all that much this year, accumulating under 50 yards of rushing. Last year he had 219 yards on 88 carries, which is only good for a 2.5 yard average. Like I said though, he's not a running quarterback, he's a pro style passer. He can extend plays and he does that a lot to avoid pressure and he can run, he would just prefer to beat you with his arm. This is a very clear category for a winner:Better prospect in this category: Marcus Mariota QB IntelligenceMarcus Mariota is a very safe quarterback. Over the course of his three seasons with Oregon he has thrown 11 interceptions against 87 touchdowns. Now he does have a lot of high percentage throws, however he also throws down the field and will often make the safe read. Yes he does have pre-snap reads but I've also seen him throw the ball away when the play isn't there, take the safer option when his primary read is well covered and take off if he doesn't see the passing lane. In short, he just doesn't turn the ball over very often and he often makes the right decision when it comes to throwing the football. If you pick out 2-3 games from 2012,2013 or 2014, you'll see the same thing, a guy who reads the play well and delivers the ball on time and away from pressure. His intelligence for the game is indisputable, the game at Oregon flows very quickly and he's constantly on top of his reads, checks and adjustments. Oregon works on a zone-read, read-option offense which requires a high football IQ both before the ball is snapped and once the play is in motion. Will he be able to make the transition to a pro-style offense? That's the big question, but nothing in his college career suggests he won't be able to.Jameis Winston also exhibits exceptional intelligence for the game. He makes adjustments before the play and after the play, he works through reads and consistently finds his hot reads, and number one and two receivers. He is also adept at taking off when he needs to. Fortunately one thing has been noted about Winston and if you google this, it will come up in pretty much every single assessment. A big weakness was exposed last year by Auburn and their blitz heavy man-to-man pressure defense. Although he orchestrated the victory for Florida State he had one of the lowest completion percentages in his career, he at times looked confused and panicked when facing exotic blitzes and he often delayed his throws which affected his timing and accuracy. In the NFL you will see exotic defenses, time and time again. Blitzes will come from the left, right, defensive backs, linebackers, safeties, delayed and overload, recognizing this and reacting accordingly is a major factor for an NFL QB. I've seen him struggle at times with this, although this year he looks to be making some big improvements. When given time, his intelligence and recognition of where to go with the ball is elite! When pressured, he starts to unravel just a little. Again, with another year in college, this will probably go away.Mariota  © Cary Edmondson | 2014Better prospect in this category: Marcus Mariota Dropback/FootworkThis is a tough one to really judge because Marcus Mariota often takes his snaps from the shotgun almost exclusively. He rarely has to drop back and as such there is very little video evidence to suggest he can or can't do this. However when researching this article I found something from Oregon that suggested Mariota was staying 30-40 minutes after team sessions to practice his center exchange. Now I've watched a lot of Oregon this season and they rarely run a play from under center, however it's encouraging to hear that Mariota is taking his future in the NFL seriously and he is working on this aspect of the game. Once he does snap the ball however, his footwork is excellent, sliding away from pressure and stepping into his throws. He rarely gets happy feet and that's a positive for any NFL franchise. However he will need to prove to scouts that he is comfortable throwing off 3,5 and 7 step drops during the pre-draft workout.Jameis Winston's dropbacks are exceptional. He builds speed as he drops and he is one of the better quarterbacks in college at taking NFL standard 7 step drops. His feet are clean and structured during the drop back, he keeps his eyes up and he's very tall at the end of his drop, ready to throw. His footwork is OK once he has made his drop, this was the one area highlighted as needing big improvements going forward. It's not terrible, but he needs to ensure he feels pressure and slides away from it rather than get happy feet. His footwork is an issue for me and although he's made improvements this year, I still think he needs another year in college with coaching to clean this area up a bit. However because his drops are so clean and we don't know if Mariota can do that, the winner here is clear for me.  Better prospect in this caegory: Jameis WinstonPocket Presence/PoiseMariota has outstanding pocket presence and poise. He often makes throws under duress and his accuracy doesn't suffer all that much it seems. He keeps his eyes downfield and he feels pressure to slide away from it. He also has the ability to extend the play with his feet which makes him a very valuable asset. He delivers balls while getting hit and he doesn't mind standing tall and taking the hit if it's going to result in first downs. This is a major major asset for any quarterback and he has really evolved over the course of this season with his innate ability to just feel where that pressure is coming from. He doesn't get happy feet and he stays tall, he really is a very impressive quarterback in this regard.Winston is hot and cold in this regard. For the majority he is exceptional, I've seen him deliver pass-after-pass on the button while getting drilled. He will stand up tall, deliver the ball and take off if he spots pressure coming with no open receiver. However he also has a tendency to lose his pocket poise once he has been under duress. We saw this against Auburn, he drops his eyes because he doesn't feel pressure as well as Mariota, this means he loses the position of his read and this delays the mechanics of delivering the pass. 85% of the time, he is absolutely fine but when faced with heavy pressure, Winston needs to do a better job of keeping his eyes downfield and feeling the pressure rather than looking for it. Again, this was an area that Mariota needed to improve in, and he did that during his 3rd year, I'd fully expect Winston to do the same.  Better prospect in this category: Marcus Mariota LeadershipMarcus is the life and soul of this Oregon offense, everything runs through him and he leads by example on and off the field. If you're looking for someone to scream and shout, then the cool exterior of Marcus Mariota won't be for you. He's a passionate guy and that comes through at times, but for the majority he is a guy who will personify cool, calm and collected and that may be due to his Hawaii roots. However his team wanted him to be more of a vocal leader, they wanted him to take more of a central role. Apparently that is going very well with Mariota taking a more vocal stance in practice and during team meetings. He's not going to be Jonny Manziel ranting and raving in the face of his team mates if they make a mistake and you won't catch him jumping up and down on the sideline. Some say he reminds them of Joe Flacco, for me he also reminds me of Peyton Manning in terms of his demeanor. I'm not saying his game is similar to Peyton's, that would be ridiculous, but his "on to the next play" attitude is something very reminiscent of the former Tennessee man. I like my quarterbacks to be more in this mold than the other, but I understand people who don't.On the other side of the spectrum, you have Jameis Winston. A ranter and raver who will get in the face of anyone who makes a mistake. As long as the QB is performing he can do this, but you try doing this when you're making errors and it's going to cause friction. On the field, Winston leads by example better than anyone, he makes big play after big play against top opponents to win his team the game. Off the field he is the worst kind of leader and several people have commented that he needs to become a better leader before he hopes to get an NFL locker room to follow him. He's still making these immature decisions that make him and the program look bad, his immaturity is a big factor and the fact he made an abusive comment that resulted in a suspension not a month ago means he has a long way to go before he is the leader everyone wants to see. People have said he needs to stay in college one more year and prove he is mature enough to be handed a lot of money and a lot of responsibility, and I think that's the right move to make.Better prospect in this category: Marcus Mariota ConclusionFirst of all, if you're still reading me rabble on about these prospects after 3,000 words, you deserve a medal, and thank you for reading. I think it's obvious from the above that I think Mariota is the safer and more polished prospect right now. In many ways when I was writing this, I kept thinking about the 1998 draft with Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. On one hand you have this fiery character with some maturity issues who has unlimited potential and could be the next great quarterback to play in the NFL. On the other you have this reserved character who's a very safe prospect who will say and do all the right things and in the end prove to be a safe option. Now obviously there are some stark differences in this situation, the respective games of the prospects and the NFL in general now in comparison to the late 90's.Winston could be very special.However if I were a friend of his or close to him, I would plead with him to return to college for one more year. In the space of that year, he can improve on the small deficiencies in his game like Mariota did and he can prove to NFL scouts, owners and general managers that he can be trusted to be given the keys to the franchise. Right now, with his maturity issues, I'm not handing him a boat load of money and investing my franchise in him. Now he's not toxic and these are childish things. However that's why you have college, and staying one more year will probably mean a more mature Winston when he exits for the NFL. I have spoken to a few people over the last month or so, and the feeling is that his stock is going down rather than up. He has all the talent in the world but one more year will do him the world of good.Mariota is a guy that I really enjoy watching. He is a duel-threat quarterback but he has so much to his game. From sliding in the pocket to avoid pressure, making the right decision, working through his reads or making the accurate throw at the right time, he's the kind of guy that will win you a lot of games and not lose you very many. I know a number of people are very high on Winston and down on Mariota and a lot of those people will disagree with my assessment, but I think when you break it all down, Mariota is the safer pick and will perform better immediately. If they both stay in school next year (which is possible if unlikely), then my assessment could be very very different next year.If I were drafting for the New York Jets and I have the choice between the two players, I'm taking Marcus Mariota.

    • Anonymous

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      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.com The 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.

    • Anonymous

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      [Winston] brought a BB gun onto campus and shot at squirrels.

      In fairness, they probably deserved it.  As a native Floridian and alum of FSU ... I'm not even joking.  The state would be a better place with fewer squirrels.

    • Anonymous

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      http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-videos/0ap3000000400244/Marcus-Mariota-analysis  All 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.

    • Anonymous

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      [Winston] brought a BB gun onto campus and shot at squirrels.

      In fairness, they probably deserved it.  As a native Floridian and alum of FSU ... I'm not even joking.  The state would be a better place with fewer squirrels.

      I went to USF and lived in the underclassman dorms one semester.  The squirrels were very bold around there.  took a nap on my sofa one day with the door cracked and woke up to one crawling on me.

    • Anonymous

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      I love that Mariota guy

    • Anonymous

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      Any chance that, if Oregon doesn’t win the championship, Mediocre goes back for another year?

    • Anonymous

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      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.”

    • Anonymous

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      As my biology prof said squirrels are rats with fuzzy tails. My deserve to die, doesn’t change that shooting at them on campus is BSC.

    • Anonymous

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      I love that Mariota guy

      +1

    • Anonymous

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      PETA would be all over us if that moron tried that while playing for us.

    • Anonymous

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      Good news, no squirrels at RJS and the way this team is going the won’t be many spectators who can become collateral damage if he doesn’t check his background.

    • Anonymous

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      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?

    • Anonymous

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      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