The NFL community can’t help but compare the former top draft picks as Jameis Winston’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on Marcus Mariota’s Tennessee Titans in week two of the preseason.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they were in desperate need of a culture change. I believe this is one of the main reasons why the Bucs made Jameis Winston their number one selection.
On the field, Winston has put up some impressive numbers to begin his NFL career and was on the cusp of bringing the Bucs back into the postseason just two years ago.
Winston has played in 45 of 48 games, thrown for 11,636 yards, 69 TD’s, 44 INT’s, rushed for 513 yards, 8 TD’s, lost 15 fumbles, and has a career quarterback rating of 87.2.
Marcus Mariota has also played very well thus far. He’s played in 42 of 48 games, thrown for 9,476 yards, 58 TD’s, 34 INT’s, rushed for 913 yards, 9 TD’s, lost 12 fumbles and has a career quarterback rating of 88.6.
Mariota has more rushing yards with his ability to tuck and run, but he only has one more rushing TD than Winston. Also, the difference in passing statistics is worth noting. Winston has passed for 2,160 more yards and has 11 more TDs than Mariota. That’s impressive.
In the turnover battle, you must give the nod to Mariota. He has 10 fewer INTs and three fewer fumbles. Mariota is known for taking good care of the ball, especially in the red zone. That makes a huge difference as the Titans rarely leave the red area empty-handed.
You can make the argument that Winston has better passing statistics because he has had better receivers. He’s had the privilege of playing with Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Cameron Brate. The talent has been there for Winston, but Mariota has had some excellent help too.
Mariota has had the privilege of playing with one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Titans arguably have the best tackle combination in the NFL with Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin. Having more time to make the right decision with the football makes the world of a difference.
The best ability for a quarterback is availability. Before Winston’s suspension, I would have given him the edge regarding durability. Mariota has had multiple injuries to begin his career, which includes a broken leg.
Winston’s suspension is an enormous factor. The fact that he has had multiple off-field issues has tarnished his bright career in the eyes of many, fair or not. Winston’s actions have put his teammates and organization in this situation is not right. Mariota hasn’t had any of those miscues.
Coming out of school there was no doubt Jameis Winston was a very talented player. The biggest concern revolved around his character. I remember at his introductory press conference, Winston said those mistakes were behind him, and he would have to earn the Bucs fanbase’s trust. Now, he must start from square one again.
As of now, Mariota has the edge in the “Winston v. Mariota” debate. Although the looming suspension is a big knock, Mariota’s resume as a whole is better than Winston’s.
Winston has better stats and a Pro Bowl appearance, Mariota has more wins and a playoff appearance. What would you rather have?
Regardless of where the two stand now, I do believe that in ten years these two will be very successful quarterbacks. Both organizations will be happy with their decisions when their careers come to an end. The Titans got their franchise quarterback and the Buccaneers got their culture-changing quarterback.