Taking a quarterback with a top 10 pick in the NFL draft can make or break a franchise. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to decide if Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota are worth the risks involved with taking a QB before they lead off the 2015 draft.
Winston or Mariota could wind up being Peyton Manning, John Elway or Troy Aikman — a franchise quarterback who will eventually lead his team to Super Bowl glory. They could just as well become JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf or Akili Smith, however.
Winston and Mariota have been red-flagged leading up to this year’s draft. Winston was investigated for a sexual assault on the Florida State campus but ultimately was cleared of violating the school’s code of conduct. Winston also was issued a civil citation in 2014 for stealing crab legs from a grocery store. He was suspended one game by Florida State after screaming a vulgar internet meme while standing on a table on campus.
Mariota comes from a spread offense at Oregon, and it’s assumed he could take time to adjust to a pro-style NFL system. NFL teams also reportedly are “nitpicking” Mariota for his laid-back personality.
Winston seems like the safer prospect on the field, while Mariota is a cleaner prospect off the field. NFL draft busts come in all forms, however, and neither player seems like a sure thing.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Sakuma/Associated Press