ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski was already on the record saying he wouldn’t pick Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston first overall.
Now, he’s saying he doesn’t think the Buccaneers will, either.
During an interview with CSN’s Sports Talk Philly, Jaworski said he thinks the Bucs are going to surprise everyone and take Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.
“The latest I’m hearing now from my sources around the league, who are pretty wired in, is that he’s going to go number one now to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” Jaworski said, via PhillyMag.com. “Mariota’s stock, remember it was quiet for a while? And there’s a reason for that. There’s a lull every year until about 30 days before the draft. Now the coaches get involved. Prior to that, it’s the scouts, it’s the roadies that are filling out the paper work. Now the coaches get involved. Now team owners get involved. Now General Managers get involved. So you’re starting to see, in my opinion, Winston’s stock starting to slide a little bit and Mariota’s stock starting to go up a little bit.”
Perhaps that rise is on the recommendation of Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who is apparently talking up his former quarterback to others in the league.
“I’ll give you a little bit of information on how much Chip Kelly loves Marcus Mariota,” Jaworski said. “This is the time of year when everyone talks, and I talk to General Managers, I’ve talked to player personnel directors, and I’ve heard it from a couple or three people that have had conversations with Chip Kelly, and Chip Kelly said, ‘Marcus Mariota will win multiple Super Bowls in the National Football League.’
“Now, he didn’t say it was going to be in Philadelphia, but that’s how much he loves this guy, and a lot of people feel the same way, that Marcus Mariota is that good that you can win multiple Super Bowls with him as your quarterback.”
Of course, Jaworski is no stranger to taking a contrarian position, and he’s also not paid to be a reporter. But coupled with Mike Mayock’s about-face last week — and the fact the Bucs put it on their own website — it might be smoke that indicates a fire is about to be made with a bunch of mock drafts.