The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and a serious need at quarterback. Two Heisman winners, Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, are the two highest rated quarterbacks available, and while Mariota was long considered a prohibitive favorite to be drafted first, Winston is picking up serious momentum. According to ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas, head coach Lovie Smith prefers Winston because of his experience in a pro-style offense at FSU.
I’ve heard that coach Lovie Smith prefers Winston over Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. When Smith chose Dirk Koetter as the Bucs’ offensive coordinator over Marc Trestman, the logic was simple. Although Smith and Trestman have similar philosophies about how to run an offense, they disagreed on the quarterbacks. Trestman preferred Mariota.
Smith favors Winston and Smith is the boss. There is lots of logic behind Smith’s preference.
Mariota spent his college career running a spread offense. Winston ran a pro-style offense. Both fared well, but there isn’t much room for comparison.
At Florida State, Winston ran an offense that is at least somewhat similar to what the Bucs run. The offense Mariota ran looked nothing like that, and the only comparable NFL offense is what the Philadelphia Eagles run.
Mariota has an edge when it comes to off-the-field concerns, but that only means so much if teams feel that Winston’s abilities translate better to the pros.