While the debate over whether Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota should go No. 1 in the NFL Draft continues, Robert Klemko of MMQB did a good post on where the two prospects stand in the big picture.
Klemko got an anonymous NFL talent evaluator to reveal their pre-draft grades for every quarterback who was taken in the first round since 2011.
Andrew Luck was No. 1, which is not a surprise, but Winston is No. 2 and Mariota is No. 6.
That’s higher than you’d expect for Winston, whose off-field history would seem to make him an inherently risky pick.
The scout had Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, and Blaine Gabbert behind Winston but above Mariota.
Even if the Tampa Bay Bucs think the gap between Winston and Mariota is as wide as this scout does, they have no incentive to announce that they’re picking him. Since the new collective bargaining agreement introduced a new rookie salary structure, the Bucs don’t have to do the pre-draft contract negotiating that was commonplace 10 years ago. It’s in their best interest to appear in play for both Winston and Mariota and hope a team makes a Godfather offer at the last minute.
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