Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston both would have been first-round draft picks if they had entered the NFL this year, and they’ll be vying to be the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
At least, they will be if they enter the draft. But both Mariota and Winston say they might just stay in school for two more years, and wait until 2016 until they enter the draft.
“We’ll see, I’m not too sure,” Mariota told NFL.com. “The opportunity to leave obviously is there, but at the same time, college is fun and I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet.”
Winston said he may want to stay at Florida State long enough to get his degree.
“It’s very important to me. I was always raised as a student first and an athlete second,” Winston said. “I think that’s the main purpose in college. Some athletes lose that perspective. It’s about being a student-athlete, and not just getting that easy money and going to the league. Even if kids leave early, I would want them to come back and get that degree.”
Because both players redshirted as freshmen, Mariota has two more seasons of NCAA eligibility and Winston has three. But realistically, it’s hard to believe either will still be in college a year from now. There’s just too much money to be made in the NFL, and too much of a risk of getting hurt as an amateur, for potential high first-round picks to stay in school. Expect them both to be in the 2015 NFL draft.