The No.1 overall pick is supposed to play a major part in turning a down franchise around. Teams hope that whoever they select with that pick is the cornerstone of their franchise for 10 to 15 years.
Winston reminds me of Byron Leftwich. Ask yourself, is there any year that Leftwich would be considered for the No. 1 overall selection? Leftwich was a decent starter; he even led his team to the playoffs once. He was a quality backup quarterback and overall had a decent career. To be fair, Winston will likely be more accurate than Leftwich ever was. However, his downfall will likely be the same as Leftwich’s was, his throwing motion is kind of long and he is going to take a ton of hits.
The other problem with taking Winston is his well documented off the field struggles. Even without the rape case and that is a huge red flag, Winston has several other hiccups of the field that should make any team cautious. Mariota off the field checks out clean. He reportedly puts in the work and leads by example.
On the field for Mariota is a more difficult projection. He never took snaps under center in college. He had huge windows to throw into. The offense he played in is built to make the quarterback look great. For example in Andy Reid’s offense, Nick Foles looked like he was a backup at best. He struggled to make reads and got sacked a too much. He was sacked 20 times in the seven games he appeared in under Reid. In Chip Kelly’s offense, the same offense Mariota ran in college, Foles flourished. He threw 30 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. The Philadelphia Eagles record with Kelly calling plays and Foles starting was 14-4.
With so many questions about what to do at No.1 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should consider playing “Let’s make a deal!” According to USAToday.com, Ken Wisenhunt came out and said, “If we pick him at No. 2, you definitely think he can be the Day 1 starter,” Whisenhunt said during Tuesday morning’s AFC coaches breakfast at the league’s owners meetings. “He was impressive. … Just the short time we spent with him on the board, he was very good.” If Wisenhunt is going to publically gush over him like that, send out the message that he won’t be available at two. Make the Tennessee Titans move up to get him and by doing a trade the Buccaneers could end up with three picks in the top 35 selections.
The mistake teams continue to make is they reach for need instead of waiting for a guy they really like. The Houston Texans had the No.1 overall pick last season and needed a quarterback. They didn’t select one, and the player they did select, Jadeveon Clowney, barley saw the field. The team still finished above .500. The Oakland Raiders needed a quarterback last season. They waited until the second-round to take Derek Carr. They didn’t reach and got a player at a place they were comfortable and he looks like he could be the team’s future at the position. Ask the Cleveland Browns how well reaching for a guy to fill a need works out.
Missing on a quarterback with a first-round pick sets a team’s program back five years. Teams pay scouts all kinds of money to figure out whether a player has what it takes to be their guy. No scout anywhere is calling either Winston or Mariota a can’t miss prospect. Trading back may not be the sexy thing to do, but then again, making the logical decision rarely is.