The first round of the NFL draft happened Thursday night and with it came the usual hoopla that surrounds the annual event. Young millionaires were made and fans cheered or cried as their teams tried to figure who were going to be the next generation of NFL stars.
I remember a time when no one paid much attention to the draft. Of course that was years ago. But it did happen. Once upon a time, you just read about the results in the newspaper the following day. It was not televised, there were no jerseys handed out by the commissioner and it certainly did not take multiple days to happen (and if it did, then no one noticed that either). However, since it is such a big deal now, I figured I would take a look and see how the whole thing turned out.
First things first, I guess I am in no way surprised the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Jameis Winston with the first pick. There is part of me that wants to be surprised, but the talented Winston has eventually won me over and, apparently, won over the rest of the NFL as well.
Winston is big and strong and fast and he plays the most important position on an NFL team. It is one that is, sadly, undermanned by the current group of men who play in the league. So the Buccaneers had to roll the dice and take a chance on a guy who could be their first great quarterback since Doug Williams left to win the Super Bowl in Washington.
I don’t know what will become of Winston. He could turn into one of the game’s great players. He also could go the route of JaMarcus Russell and be out of the league in a few years. He obviously has character issues, but he is also very young. So, perhaps, he can become a good citizen and in the process, an NFL star.
Naturally the next place to go is the second pick and this one was a little surprising. Yes, Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy last year and yes he was, arguably, the second best signal caller in college football last year. However, he is not anywhere close to a sure thing at the next level.
By all reports, Mariota seems like he is a good guy, and he certainly could play in college. But, how many quarterbacks with a skill set similar to his have succeeded in the NFL? Johnny Manziel? No. Robert Griffin III? Nope. Tim Tebow? Okay, maybe that one’s a stretch, Mariota is certainly a better passer than Tebow, but I think you get the point.
Mobile passers who run the spread offense in college have trouble adjusting to the NFL. Because of all the reasons I mentioned with Winston, the Tennessee Titans took a chance on Mariota, but I will not be surprised in the least if this does not work out for them.
When reading reports about what the Philadelphia Eagles supposedly offered them for the pick (multiple first round draft picks, their best defensive player and quarterback Sam Bradford) I am very surprised the Titans did not jump at the offer and let Chip Kelly have his college quarterback.
The Titans risked a lot with Mariota. It will be interesting to see if he can shake the stigma that has followed quarterbacks like him into the NFL and succeed. If he does, then he could be a special player for years to come. If he does not, I suppose the Titans will be going back to the drawing board in the near future.