Jameis Winston Deserves Top Draft Pick

With their ship out of water, the Bucs are going nowhere.

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out

For many Duck football fans the dream season would have been a Heisman (check), a national championship (close — but no cigar) and a number one draft pick for Marcus Mariota. While the draft pick thing is still up in the air, the national noise seems to be shifting in favor of Jameis Winston — and well it should. Why Jameis Winston deserves to be picked number one — and probably will be — is the subject of this week’s Three-and-Out.

With their ship out of water, the Bucs are going nowhere.


With their ship out of water, the Bucs are going nowhere. Good thing they have State Farm behind them.

1. Tampa Bay is doing the choosing. A team doesn’t earn the right to the number one draft pick by having a history of making good decisions and Tampa Bay is no exception. The Bucs have zero Ducks on their roster. They have players from football powerhouses Fordham, Western Washington, Idaho State, Northwest Missouri State, Bethel College, Montana State, Northern Colorado and even Chadron State, wherever that is — plus one smart guy from Harvard. But not a single Duck.

Chadron State campus. Seriously.


Chadron State campus. Seriously.

Maybe the Bucs should put the guy from Harvard in charge of player selection, because what they have been doing hasn’t worked out so well. Their last winning season was 2010 when (Coincidence? — I think not…) they went 9-7 behind the running of former Duck LeGarette Blount, who has since moved on to New England (and a Super Bowl ring).

In the four years since 2010, the hapless Buccaneers have won a paltry average of four games per year, culminating in 2014’s 2-14 debacle which earned them the title of “Worst in the NFL” and the right to the first draft choice. Doug Martin, their best running back amassed 494 yards on 134 carries this past season, earning himself the number 40 position in the NFL for rushing stats. Martin is out of Boise State, so it is a bit of a wonder how Tampa Bay managed to discover Idaho as a source of running backs, but not Oregon. It’s not THAT much farther — and well worth the ticket. After all, there’s a reason they named it the “Oregon Trail,” not the “Boise Trail.”

All in all, Tampa Bay finished 29th out of the 32 NFL teams in rushing yards, averaging 85.9 per game. Picking a lead-footed quarterback like Winston over Mariota — who would add a dimension to their running game — will fit perfectly with the Buccaneers’ track record for management decisions.

Winston just before getting smoked in the Rose Bowl.

John Sperry

Winston just before getting smoked in the Rose Bowl.

2. Jameis Winston. Winston deserves to become a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Having claimed that a 59-20 loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl “coulda went either way” and then turning around and asserting that he will win a Super Bowl next year demonstrates an understanding of both past and future that is consistent with Tampa Bay’s management decisions — decisions that secured the franchise the number one pick.

In a recent article published on Oregonlive.com, the Associated Press’s David J. Phillip compared Mariota and Winston and gave Winston the nod for passing, leadership and decision-making. According to Phillip, Winston’s passes have tremendous velocity and accuracy, and since Winston worked in a pro-style offense at Florida State, his decision-making is stronger than Mariota’s.

Let me get this right, David… you’re saying that the guy who threw eighteen interceptions is a better passer — and a better decision-maker — than the guy who threw four interceptions? This is logic that only management that has gravitated to the lowest end of the bell curve could embrace — and Tampa Bay fits the bill.

Florida State activists take up the "No means no-o-o" chant. Will they take it to Tampa Bay?

from video

Florida State activists take up the “No means no-o-o” chant. Will they take it to Tampa Bay?

As for leadership, Phillip gave points to Winston for coming off as confident when he claimed that he would become the “face of the franchise” repeatedly. And Phillips took points away from Mariota for being humble. So much for leadership by example — but again, it’s the sort of thing that you could expect Tampa Bay to buy into, given its history.

But that’s not all. It’s a mere 274 miles from Tallahassee to Tampa Bay, so if the Bucs choose Winston there’s the local guy makes good angle. Maybe Seminole fans will bolster attendance by showing up at Tampa Bay games and doing the “No means no-o-o” chant. Or here’s an idea — since Buccaneers are involved, they could change it to “Yar means yar-ar-ar.”

Mariota waits for the snap.

Craig Strobeck

Mariota waits for the snap.

3. Marcus Mariota. If the forces of good in the Universe are looking out for the good who walk the Earth, Marcus Mariota will end up with a better gig than Tampa Bay. He deserves it. It isn’t just that the Buccaneers finished 2-14 last year. They did it in the NFC South, a division that the Carolina Panthers won with a 7-8-1 record.

In 2014 Tampa Bay scored a meager 277 points in 16 games, basically an average of only two touchdowns and a field goal per game. It scored a grand total of seven rushing touchdowns the entire year. At 292 yards of total offense per game, the Bucs were less than ten yards away from dead last in the NFL — playing in a division that didn’t have a single team with a winning record.

So…. other than what appears to be a complete lack of blocking, running and receiving to back a guy up, this is about as good as it gets for a quarterback’s NFL launch pad. Better that Tampa Bay happens to Winston.

There is always the chance that the light will flicker on long enough for Tampa Bay to use its first pick to take Marcus Mariota over Jameis Winston. For Mariota’s sake we can only hope this doesn’t happen.

Top photo by Craig Strobeck

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Mike Merrell

Mike Merrell

Mike (Editor-in-Chief) is a 1970 graduate of the University of Oregon where he attended the Honors College and received all-conference honors as a swimmer. After college, Mike ran for the Oregon Track Club and narrowly missed qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in the marathon. He continues his involvement in sports with near-daily swimming or running workouts, occasional masters swim competition (where he has received two Top-10 World rankings), providing volunteer coaching to local triathletes and helping out with FishDuck.com. Mike lives on 28 acres in the forest near Sandpoint, Idaho, where he has served as a certified public accountant for most of his working career. His current night job is writing novels about Abby Westminster, the only known illegitimate daughter of Britain's finest secret agent who has to bring down arch-villains plotting dastardly deeds. And, yes, Abby is also a DUCK!

  • MarcTheDuck

    The title of your article put me off a little, Mike. But, yeah, I agree with your points. Especially in hoping MM goes to a team with a better shot at a winning record. We don’t want to see Joey Harrington’s situation all over again.
    I’ve assumed TB would pick Winston from the start. He has a Heisman too and is the local kid, with lots of local fans. It would be a likely mutiny in TB if they picked MM over their own local guy. Any team outside of Florida would probably want (and be better off) with MM but a Florida team is pretty obligated to take Winston or risk the wrath of their fans who are FSU fans. That’s not going to happen.

    • Cody

      Fan polls say otherwise. other polls show fans prefer Mariota over the home town kid with issues. Fans may mutiny if Winston is picked over Mariota

  • hokieduck

    This was amusing, Mike. Thanks.

    That said, I think Winston does “deserve” the first pick. He is an extremely talented quarterback who is NFL ready in the sense of having played extraordinarly well in an NFL system in college. I know this is not news to anyone, but it is, nonetheless, accurate. Tampa Bay is coached by Lovie Smith and, though Dirk Koetter is the OC, Lovie wants what Lovie knows. Winston fits that better.

    I have no problem with Winston being picked ahead of Marcus (in fact, I would prefer it personally… MM will make up the money later if he is successful and *not* being at TB helps in that). Going after JW will reduce the stress on him a bit and that is also good.

    March 12 Pro Day next up. Go Marcus!

  • disqus_JmcFDecx6w

    It’s amazing how great Winston looks against prevent defense. Why draft a guy that gets the win early when you can have a guy throw a bunch of picks early in the game and try to win the game later when the defense is playing loose? That’s great tv drama. Bring in the ratings and the $ and the gray hair.


    Maybe we should ask ourselves where would Marcus the competitor want to play? I’m sure he would say if he’s the competitor we know and believe he is HE wants to be the 1st pick and that would be Tampa Bay. Come on we know Marcus believes deep down he’s better than the guy that seems to have a 10th Grade education because clearly after his comments after their MELTDOWN or BEAT DOWN from the RB is he may be educated from a Football standpoint and that’s about it. For anybody that has watched Marcus the last 3 years would certainly KNOW that Marcus will succeed in any offense he will be under. Marcus deserves the 1st pick because he deserves to show what he’s capable of and remember Oregon’s staff will be able to use this in any LIVING ROOM for recruiting and will benefit Oregon even more in the long run. As for Joey come on he really wasn’t that good in the NFL regardless of who picked him. Anyone remember Chris Miller if he wouldn’t of had so many injury problems he would of played 12 seasons as a starter and when he was healthy he was a PRO Bowl player. ASK Marcus what he wants because it really has nothing to do with us because it’s all about him and I’m sure at his Pro day he will further challenge the scouts for that NO.1 Pick. Who would expect great players to want it any other way. Tampa does have some play makers believe it or not. Go Marcus and get that NO.1 pick. Winston deserve’s YEAH RIGHT!

  • JRR

    No bias at all here…Jameis Winston may be delusional, but none more than you sir.

    • Mike Merrell

      JRR –

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Of course I’m biased. I’m a Ducks fan, for crying out loud. I’ve got a Ducks letterman’s jacket from years ago in my closet. This is a Ducks fan website. What do you expect?

      But as delusional as Winston? No. That’s not one that coulda went either way.

  • islanchief

    Sour grapes.

    • Mike Merrell

      Sour that I’m not a devotee of a 2-14 NFL team? Sour that Oregon didn’t have a QB who threw 18 picks last season? Sour that the Ducks backed off when they could have made it 66-20? Sour that Mariota will likely end up with a better team to play for? “No” to all of the above, and we all know that “no” means “no” — well, most of us do anyway.

      • Chip Racette

        Look that’s all any body talks about what happen off the field he was not charged 5 star was a great player at f.s.u. Winston is right that game could have went either way the turn overs in 3 rd quarter changed game it’s was coming down to wire again we lost its hard to win 29 straight game’s f.s.u. is making a new dynasty mark my words !There is a lot of haters out there when it comes to f.s.u. go noles more national championships coming to Tallahassee !!!

        • Godux

          I don’t hate FSU … well maybe I do … but i’s a pretty big stretch to say that game could have gone either way …. maybe if they’d have stopped it after three quarters …
          Exactly when did FSU flash a sign they were ready to take control?

  • AllDayMG

    Before you write an article–if you’re trying to be a professional–please do research instead of writing, “wherever that is.” Show some respect to a good school with even better tradition. Sure they are small, but they’re a close community. Don’t forget about one of the best NFL D2 players–Danny Woodhead.

    • Mike Merrell

      AlldayMG —

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      It would have been difficult for me to get a picture of one of the buildings on campus without learning that the school is in Nebraska. I left it out on purpose to accentuate the fact that Tampa Bay has managed to find a player from one of the most obscure colleges in the country but still hasn’t managed to find the University of Oregon — and bear in mind that this is a Ducks fan website. I mean — if Tampa Bay doesn’t even know the University of Oregon exists, who am I to care where Chadron State is?

      I’m sorry if my treatment of Chadron State offends you, but showing respect for all of the I-AA and below schools was not the purpose of my article — and granted some of these are great schools that have produced some great players. Don’t take me so seriously — my article even trashed Harvard. And it’s not as though Harvard isn’t a good school. Wherever it is.

      • Godux

        Jeesh! I was afraid I missed the point for a minute there.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    jameis winston has a passing efficiency rating 40 points lower than mariota. he got slaughtered in the individual matchup in pasadena. he got smoked in the 40. he lost again in the passing combine drills. yes…jameis winston deserves to play for the 2-14 team in his home state that is going nowhere because it is a bad franchise. you are probably right.

    • islanchief

      Elway college stats were worse.

  • islanchief

    The Bucs also have signed two FSU players who went on to earn the NFL’s “Man of the Year” award. Maybe that is a better way to judge.

    • Godux

      I don’t think I want to be in a world where Jamies will be the man of the year. Congrats to the Seminoles who DID make the grade in this one.

  • Godux

    Life will be a whole lot more interesting, everywhere except in Tampa, if they follow the example set by Cleveland’s drafting of master decision maker ‘Johnnie Football’ last year.” Tampa, the Cleveland of Florida” sounds like a nice slogan.
    There are a lot of reason’s it makes sense for the Bucs to draft Jamies, especially after a few drafts in the local preparation center. I think they’ll listen to enough sagely advice, from those who don’t necessarily understand equilibrium, to pull the trigger. The gun is probably aimed at their foot.
    But I’m with you and wish Marcus better. I think he’d need all of the speed he has over Winston to stay upright long enough to make plays that will keep the fans happy. Like Johnny, I think Jamieson will find he runs out of time before he runs out of trouble on the field, or off. Besides, he probably already knows which stores in Florida have the best seafood.

    • Godux

      by the way, I apologize in advance, to Cleveland, and the Seminole fans, for getting a little snarky. to Jamies … meh

  • islanchief

    I do like living in a world where people are redeemed by their own effort.