Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota did something almost unheard of last week in Indianapolis: They entered the NFL Combine as the top two quarterback prospects, and they left the NFL Combine as the top two quarterback prospects.
Somewhere in between all that, they even threw the ball for scouts.
“They’re both very good prospects, but especially Winston,” former NFL scout and current Football Today host Matt Williamson said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “A lot of people have asked me on Twitter, ‘Boy, (the) combine didn’t go very well for Jameis. What’s the problem?’ I don’t know what you’re talking about. He threw the ball extremely well. That’s what he is.
“I think there’s a misconception out there that he’s this running, rugged, playmaking quarterback outside the pocket,” Williamson continued. “He isn’t. He’s much more of an Andrew Luck (and a) Ben Roethlisberger than he is a Cam Newton. He’s very, very advanced on the board. Behind the scenes, (he’s) very, very smart. And he just throws the football extremely well. He comes from a pro-style offense.
“If I knew he wasn’t going to embarrass the team and himself off the field, he’s a very, very easy first overall pick for me.”
Of course, that’s not to say Mariota isn’t deserving in his own right.
“I think Mariota is also a good prospect – probably going to go in the top half dozen picks or so,” Williamson said. “I just think he’s a lot further away. He’s much more athletic, but that offense doesn’t help his cause in terms of the transition. He’s still learning his drops (and how to operate) from under center. He’s going to have to throw to people that are a lot more covered than he did at Oregon. I don’t think he’s as accurate as Winston. I don’t think his arm’s quite as good. He’s not nearly as natural of a thrower. But he’s a future franchise quarterback. I just think it’s going to take some time.”
Getting back to Winston, some NFL teams were concerned about his throwing shoulder, but Winston passed every health inspection with flying colors. Then he put on a show throwing to receivers he had never thrown to.
Does that answer all your questions about him from a football standpoint?
“It does,” Williamson said. “Of course that’s why we pay the people who went to medical school. That’s why they make the big bucks, and that’s why they’re poking and prodding at him so much. It’s so funny because there’s so many doctors there, and I think the No. 1 benefit of the combine is all the medical (examinations). Unfortunately, we don’t get to know all those things. But there’s so many doctors yanking on every joint and figuring out all his weaknesses that he may never (have) even been bothered by his shoulder.
“But this is a guy that in the offseason generally has been a closer for the Florida State baseball team,” Williamson continued. “So he’s throwing fast balls usually when the season’s over. I would think his shoulder is going to heal or recuperate much quicker now than ever – and he’s only 21 years old. That doesn’t give me any pause at all – unless my doctor would come in on draft day and say, ‘Wow, this is really worse than we thought.’”