In talking with various NFL scouts and talent evaluators and overhearing several conversations about Monday night’s 42-20 victory for Ohio State over Oregon in the National Championship, there was quite a negative buzz about Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner. Several sources told PewterReport.com that Mariota proved to be a system guy and that when Oregon trailed 35-20 with 9:44 left in the fourth quarter, the Ducks seemed doomed because their offense kept stalling.
With Ohio State’s defense taking away the Ducks’ ability to run the ball in the fourth quarter, Mariota was unable to move the Oregon offense throwing the ball. A combination of errant throws and drops by the Ducks receivers prevented any hope for a comeback.
“Want to know how to beat Mariota?” said one NFL talent evaluator. “Get him into second-and-10 and third-and-long. If Oregon doesn’t get yards on first down they seemed destined to punt.”
Oregon had four possessions in the fourth quarter and saw two of them end in punts, one end with a turnover on downs and the final drive end with a Mariota interception. In all, Mariota’s offense had 16 plays and produced just 58 yards.
While he completed 24-of-37 (64.8 percent) passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against Ohio State, Mariota was 4-9 (44 percent) for 50 yards with a pick in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line. That’s what scouts noticed the most, and some suggested he was strictly a system QB that would only be a real fit in Philadelphia at the NFL level without years of development in a pro-style offense.
Scouts also didn’t see much leadership from Mariota, who is normally quiet and reserved, in the attempt to rally his team down the stretch.
The positive buzz from the NFL scouts was more about Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who is widely regarded as the best QB prospect on the field (character concerns aside), and about Ohio State running back sophomore Ezekiel Elliott’s 246-yard, four-touchdown performance against Oregon’s defense, which looked worn down by the fourth quarter. Scouts were also praising the play of the Buckeyes’ 6-foot-5, 250-pound sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones, who has completed 60 percent of his passes for 860 yards with seven touchdowns and two picks – mostly in the final three games of the year as he subbed for starter J.T. Barrett and led Ohio State the national title.
Elliot is ineligible for the draft until next year, and Jones is expected to return to Ohio State for his junior season. Mariota, who is believed to be one of the prospects the Buccaneers are considering in the first round, has yet to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft and has one more day to do so.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
It’s ok ,all of these scouts are fsu homers so don’t worry, their thoughts don’t matter. Mariotta was exposed to the nation and it’s not the least bit surprising to me.
Get the guy into third and long and he folds.
johngruden must not have read this article yet, or he would be all over this. I would rather take a chance on Winston staying out of trouble, than Mariota turning into a legit NFL QB. Outside of Philly, he will have to sit on the bench and learn how to run an NFL offense for 2-3 years. Tampa Bay does not have that luxury to sit and wait on him. L&L do not have that kind of time to wait on him. So either find a way out of the 1st overall pick or take the QB that can come in and play from day 1.
He doesn’t read articles written by homers remember. But I’m sure he’ll just be on here calling me an idiot by the end of the day:)
LOL you are probably right
cgmaster27..Mariota was exposed, with no run game could not throw from the pocket. If L&L pick him they will be on the unemployment line in three years or sooner. Best bet is Winston even with the off field problems.
I’m not a Mariota fan, but it’s ridiculous to think that one game for any QB would make much of a difference at all to a real scout.
It’s notbthat redicilous e, think about it, this is the first time theybhave not been able to run the read option and after halftime besides one wide open bomb mariotta was completely ineffective. And this defense was a good barometer to judge his skills based on the fact that they were a very physical defense.
Not true. Stanford, Michigan State, Arizona and FSU have physical defenses. This is just happened to be the 2nd time they lost this year. I agree with e that real scouts look at the whole body of work.
Pink my good man, I’ll give you Stanford and Michigan state but Arizona and fsu being physical is a stretch. As a noles fan I can tell you from experience, our defense was far from physical, and quite frankly sucked all year.
Who would believe NFL scouts from other teams at this time of the year? It would only benefit them to have Mariota drop or have Winston rise if they would rather have Mariota. Besides the headline says “some” scouts believe this. What did the other ones say that have no chance at Mariota? Mariota performed better than he did against FSU so how did his stock drop in the eyes of evaluators? The knock is centered on Oregon than Mariota, as it should be. If Licht is indeed a good evaluator of draft talent and I believe he is, he won’t be swayed by outside opinions or the performance of the players around Mariota or even the system he played in at Oregon. BTW SR, why even mention the INT in the 4th quarter without adding the caveat that it came on a hail mary in the last play of the game when there was no hope to win? That doesn’t count in anyone’s book except it shows Mariota doesn’t care about stats, unlike Glennon who threw the ball out of bounds in that same situation as a Buc.
They are trying to influence the Think Tank at Buc Headquarters. Hoping they will trade the pick or pick Winston instead. Bucs need to think about how it will look to fans when they get another Talib who is in and out of trouble all the time. Mariota is the safe pick with plenty of upside. If he has to sit a year so be it. Don’t blow the most important pick we have had in decades.
And that would be Talib the Pro Bowl player?
This report says scouts, other reports have before the Championship game from GMS have said Mariota is overrated. Yes, you could find reasons for their comments but what Mariota has shown is he is a project QB that MAYBE in two years he could be ready. To wait two years when a QB is available as a plug in and play is a foolish gamble. Take the risk on Winston as he is ready to go.
Thing is, Winston is a huge risk too. IF he was drafted and screwed up off the field after all the red flags it would be devastating to the entire organization.
I don’t think one game completely destroys Mariota’s reputation either. At times he looked very good and DID go through progressions successfully despite “experts” like Trent Dilfer telling us he was unable or unwilling to do so.
I only know this. The Buccaneers had better spend whatever it takes to look into Winston’s past and present, do do their homework and make damn SURE he’s the player and young man his agent, Runole, insists he is. They do that, he checks out, I get the choice. But they absolutely cannot afford a fail with this pick if it’s Winston.
It’s true, if one game did “destroy” a guy’s reputation, then Winston would certainly not be a top 10 pick based off of his horrific performance against Florida.
The two things that bother me most about mariotta is his complete lack of touch on throws and his lack of leadership as stated above. He has the ability to wing it well, but I never see him throw with touch. The te he missed by five yards in the end zone is a perfect example.for the season mariottas completion percentage is around 50% in the Redzone, were windows shrink.
As for the leadership, minor saying he’s not a leader, but he is a mime on the sidelines. I want a qb like Brady who is always talking to his guys and getting them fired up. That is Winston in spades. I mean we all know Lovie doesn’t say much during games, if we get mariotta, how are they going to communicate, through sign language?
And Garv to your point, the bucs are going to be extremely thorough in there background check of Winston, you can guarantee that. If everything checks out then we have to take him. This pick has Lovie and Lichts jobs on the line, they have to get it right.
I knew when PR tweeted this that if it became a story it would probably be a kill the messenger story. But PR is indeed hearing this info and in sports media minds are changing. Matt Miller has moved Winston to the top of his big board, so has Rob Rang and the folks at ESPN. Last week you could hardly find a mock draft that did not have the Bucs taking Mariota. Now they are about 50/50.
Keep in mind that we have officially entered what is called silly season. Many times I have linked to an expert saying this and that. Don’t believe everything you read. My only point is that there is a consensus of opinion among such experts that Winston is more pro ready. It is not a poll on who the Bucs will pick on April 30th.
People, GMs, agents, media commentators may say things that are entirely opposite of what they believe in order to get some competitive advantage. I am a Winston supporter, but the bucs will not be swayed by such rhetoric. There is a process they will follow to determine if either Winston or Mariota is the right guy.
If Mariota declares you will see both he and Winston attempt to make all the throws and you will get a ton of opinion from Mike Mayock. John Gruden will sit down with them and invite them to go to the blackboard and identify defenses and explain Spider 2 Y Banana. Then they will come in for visits and get up close and personal. There is lots of time. Before this is over, every one of us will know who the best QB is. We still may not agree, but we will definitely know!
And this stuff is what I can’t wait for. I can’t wait to see gruden and mayock break down these two. I think mayock is my favorite analyst and you can learn a ton of stuff by listening to him. I’m interested to see gruden with mariotta. As loud as gruden is and as quiet as mariotta is, it should be an interesting dynamic. Ofcourse then again maybe Lovie wasn’t full of crap when he said glennon is the future. I sure hope not though.
So were all these NFL Scouts down on Winston after he didn’t come from behind against Oregon? Mariota threw for 333yds on 24/37 passing against a very good Buckeye defense. He did this without 2 of his top receiving targets. Take off your rose colored Winston glasses PR. Your credibility is coming into question.
It’s what he does from the pocket that counts. Not knocking him as he made some good throws from the pocket, but he is clearly better on the run. And that will get you killed in the nfl. Heck he almost got knocked out of the game on a play that he will try to make in the pros. And in the pros, just about everyone is as fast as him.
Sounds like if the background check of Winston isn’t better than what we hear in the media, the smart play would be to trade down, if the value is there. Chances are if we got 4 or 5 very good picks for him, not more than one might have character issues…but to roll all that value into one guy of questionable character (if that is what the thorough background check reveals) is too risky us…unless we want to wait five years.
I read a article on BucsNation a couple of days ago that was taken off their screen and redone. It got reposted a day or two later. The reason that was given was it didn’t want to sound pro Winston or anti victim. The original post said that the alleged victim gave a description of the person who raped her as being five nine to about five eleven,200 lbs. That sure sounds like Winston to me. It was also reported that the woman belonged at one time to a club known as the ” cleat chases ” that is a group of woman that try to have sex with athletes on campus. I could see why there was no charges filed. The other off field issues IMO are minor. I would think Winston should pass the vetting process as long as nothing else comes along. If anything else happens or pops up then they should move on and don’t look back.
Totally agree with your assessment Kinderrt. The alleged “rape” is a non issue given the facts and the other off-field issues are so insignificant it’s a stretch for people to make so much out of them. They are more poor judgement from a young college kid with the spotlight focused on him than some thug juvenile delinquent on and off the police blotter.
I would urge everyone to read this about “system” QB’s, Mariota and labeling QB’s.
I like both QB’s but prefer Mariota. I’m not going to sit here and pretend to “grade” him or tell you how he’ll “project at the next level”. I do feel, IMO, Mariota has a higher ceiling. It’s not about 2015, it’s about the franchise long term.
I am disappointed with local media promoting Winston, especially PR, when they supposed to be objective and not biased. It doesn’t sound like it. Remember how great PR said the Bucs looked in camp? How sharp they looked? How did that turn out?
I know this, the Bucs better take 1 of the 2 popular QB’s with the 1st pick or the fan base might explode.
What a great link, thanks 1bucfanjeff! My favorite thing about the article was that it was objective. It didn’t skirt past Mariota’s negatives like not having elite accuracy. But it was certainly written by an analyst that understood the QB position and could separate between a system, the outcome of a game and the QB himself. It was also refreshing for someone else to see that Mariota actually performed better against OSU than FSU. Again, those that say he was “exposed” versus OSU can’t look at a game and separate the QB performance from the outcome of the game.
+1 on everything you said.
I must admit I’m also seeing some suggesting that the Bucs should trade out (besides my friend Horse). And I understand their rationale. I listened to our new OC yesterday and he said nothing to boost my confidence that we were taking a QB (didn’t really expect him to though).
Winston is a very exciting possibility at QB, but he, as some suggest, is also a very dangerous pick because of his well-known off-field antics.
Mariota is an enigma. As Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com explains it – he is a difficult evaluation. Jeremiah is a Mariota supporter but he believes that part of the problem is that NFL people like comparisons. He is successful in the system he is in, but the problem there is no other system like the Oregon system, nowhere in college or the pros. Chip Kelly does not even run a similar system. There is up-tempo, but this is off-tempo where receivers don’t run scripted routes. Mariota uses his elusiveness in the pocket to buy time for the receiver to find the open spot– it is one borne of deception and receivers are never in tight coverage – thus Mariota rarely ever makes NFL throws. And when he does, he doesn’t have the same accuracy or success. Some suggests that Urban Meyer figured this out in the Championship game.
I don’t like this idea, but I’ve even seen a mock with the Bucs trading down to 5th (Jets) and taking DE/DT Leonard Williams/USC.
Best thing to do is keep an open mind and never say never!
If anyone things Winston is draft, and plug in ready, this is what Brooks had to say. He’s basically to immature to lead an NFL team. Anyone who drafts him will have to have a plan crafted, with his people involved on how to raise his maturity level. My point, none of these kids are NFL ready. There will need to be a plan in place whomever we choose. Started off in favor of Winston, then Mariota, now leaning hard back to Winston. If none of these two are really ready, why not take Jones as a project? On to the combine.
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Well I would think Tampa could trade down with NYJets for picks. If we stay at #1 I would get the best OL or DL player available. Big thrun the draft and key McCown and b/u qb one more year. Now If that Ohio St sensations comes out I say TAMP BAY draft him for the future. at NO#6 Get the best OL or DL player available and build up thru the draft with the other 3 picks that Jets would need to trade for thaat #1 pick. GO BUS GLH
I’ve flip flopped on Winston or Mariota as I’ve seen less of Mariota and went more on the hype, but in the 2 full games I’ve watched him I don’t see an NFL QB. He looked better in the 1st half of the NC game than he looked in the FSU game or the 2nd half of the NC game, in that one half he made more NFL style passes and showed more of an arm. However unless the Bucs are going to run a Chip Kelly type of offense – which personally I’d love – the choice is very clear, and that is Winston.
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I have a similar view as you cbrady2k. Watched Winston play numerous times and was always amazed at some of the throws he could make, his pocket presence but was mostly impressed by his on-field demeanor when things didn’t go as planned…….especially given his youth. I consider his off-field antics a concern but not a deal-breaker for me because I believe when he’s surrounded by professionals and not a bunch of kids he will quickly mature. I had only read about Mariota until the college play-off games so I was anxious to see him. While his statistics look great, I just haven’t seen enough of “it”. He seems somewhat robotic to me. But what I really am concerned about is his rather blah unemotional personality. A QB needs to be THE guy, not “one of the guys” as he calls himself. Before actually seeing Mariota or knowing much more than a novice, I thought the Bucs would go with the safer choice in Mariota. But after learning and seeing, at least at this point, Winston is the better choice behind center.
Winston no doubt has the arm. I thought Mariota handled the lose quite well. Just because you get in guys faces, and scream at your coach on the sideline, it doesn’t make you a better leader. Hate when people who never met him, say he’s not a leader. Montana wasn’t a vocal leader. Winston has Brooks here to help mentor him. Brooks would do it to keep FSU’s, and the Bucs image clean. I think the Bucs would do well hiring Brooks full time. If I’m the Glazers, I want him in the organization, just for his opinions alone. Hey D, this is Brian, Lovie wants to do this, what do you think? One more ramble. People been knocking Mariota’s arm, but I’ve been watching his feet. Very nimble, never get’s to wide. He’s quick squaring to the target, because of good balance, and footwork. Thought his overall mechanics were good.
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