The majority of NFL and draft experts, with NFL insiders and everyone else who matters for ESPN and NFL Network agree that Jameis Winston is the best QB in the draft. Despite this, there are a few oddballs who say that Marcus Mariota is indeed, the top QB. One of those oddballs is NFL Network draft analyst, Mike Mayock. In an article for NFL.com, Mayock explained his reasoning behind flipping the two QBs on his draft board.
Interestingly, Mayock is one of the first people to appreciate that Oregon’s offensive scheme is actually quite complex and not just running the same play over and over again. Mayock praised Mariota’s success within Oregon’s offense by saying, “… the more tape that I’ve watched, the more I’ve appreciated what he’s been asked to do …” and said, “He reads combination routes, takes tremendous care of the football, and he wins games.”
So, while everyone else has Mariota dropping further and further in the draft, Mayock believes he is the best QB in the draft.
Mayock also said that he trusts Mariota both on and off the field, more than he does Winston, highlighting that Winston “… continued to put his team at a disadvantage almost weekly …” by making poor decisions on the field. Off the field, it is well known that Winston has a history of making bad choices and being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
However, in the end, even Mayock doesn’t believe that Mariota will go No. 1 overall because Winston is a better fit for what the first draft selector, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wants to do next season. Furthermore, Winston is also something of a folk hero in Florida, so passing on him is likely to be a mistake by the Buccaneers front office.
Mayock brought up an interesting point, stating that, “The bigger question is what happens with Tennessee at No. 2. … That’s really where the suspense will start.”
This is very interesting, because everyone else is talking about how low Mariota could go, Mayock is envisioning a scenario where “… they(Tennessee) try to trade that pick …”, thus having a team gamble their future — a la the Washington Redskins – to draft Mariota.
Ultimately, the NFL draft is going to be particularly interesting for Oregon Duck fans, with potentially three Ducks going in the first round and Mariota going anywhere from No. 2 – 17 according to “experts.”
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck