Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston throws a pass during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
In the NFL, head coaches and front office personnel get too caught up worrying about things, like the traditional build, attempting the right passes and making the correct reads, when considering a potential franchise quarterback. Now, don’t get me wrong. These things are an important part of assessing a QB’s worth, but there is one aspect that gets consistently overlooked and under appreciated: the intangibles.
Intangible is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “not made of physical substance; not able to be touched.” With that being said, why would any coach, general manager and/or owner take intangibles into account? Well, in some cases, it can mean the difference between selecting Chad Pennington or Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft. Or taking Brandon Weeden instead of Russell Wilson in 2012.
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When looking at the Combine, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota made some great throws, hitting those out routes in the right spot for the most part and showing some nice touch and strength on the deep ball. They seemed pretty fairly even, so there has to be one aspect that separates one from the other. This is where intangibles come into play.
When Brady finished the Combine, he didn’t look like he would ever become the quarterback he is today. His photo was and is constantly mocked till this day and his 40-yard dash time was an incredibly slow 5.2 seconds. And what about Wilson? Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, scouts liked his arm strength and accuracy, but they couldn’t get over his 5’11” height. It’s the reason why he wasn’t taken until the third round. Somehow, both guys defied the odds and made their way to this year’s Super Bowl. Why is that? Intangibles. It didn’t matter where Wilson and Brady were selected, they knew they had something to prove, needed to continuously get better and never be satisfied.
That is what I see in Jameis. From the moment he declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston was considered the best quarterback on the board, but he didn’t rest on his laurels. He used the time before the Combine to improve his mechanics with the help of George Whitfield Jr. He was already an accomplished quarterback, but he saw a place where he can improve and sought out a solid quarterback coach to make him better. Now, you may be saying, “And? Mariota worked with Kevin O’Connell and Philip Rivers!” But, it doesn’t end there.