A vague sense has emerged in recent weeks that a draft-stock gap exists between 2014 Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and 2013 Heisman winner Jameis Winston. There indeed may be a gap by the time the 2015 draft begins, and it may be Winston who’s the better player.
Jets quarterback Mike Vick, the first overall pick in the draft nearly 14 years ago, recently heaped praise on Winston.
“He may make some poor decisions, but he gets on that football field and he plays his ass off,” Vick said, via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. “Yeah, he can mature. He’ll mature. I see him maturing as time goes on. Like, this year hasn’t been as bad of a year as the first year was for Jameis. I think the kid will continue to improve. I think he’s the future of the NFL.”
This year hasn’t been perfect, though. The offseason featured the crab-leg caper. Then, Winston was suspended for a game after yelling an obscene phrase on campus. He nevertheless dressed for the game and entered the field in full uniform before being sent back inside. More recently, Winston placed his hands on and physically moved an official who was delaying the snap.
As a result, Winston will attract plenty of attention, wherever he goes. And that could make it difficult for him to thrive with a team like the Jets.
“I think it’s hard,” Vick said. “I think his support cast just has to be around him. You can’t put him in a room with a group of young guys. . . . The more veterans around, the more he’ll pick up on things and he’ll mature quickly. That’s the trend I’ve been around since I’ve been in the league.”
For Winston, the trend at the college level has been to win, each and every week. He’s 29-0. A win over Mariota and Oregon will move him to 30-0 and commence talk that, despite Mariota’s accomplishments, perhaps Winston is the better NFL prospect.