The widely-held belief around the league for weeks now has been that Jameis Winston will go first overall to the Bucs. But a little doubt has crept in of late.
A report surfaced this week that one of the Bucs’ owners has raised some internal questions about the the community relations impact should they choose Winston. On Friday, Ron Jaworski was a guest on CSN’s Philly Sports Talk and said he is picking up buzz that Marcus Mariota is going to be Tampa’s selection.
“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,” said Jaworski.
“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.”
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Chip Kelly, apparently, is only helping his former quarterback’s stock, telling other personnel men around the league that Mariota will hoist more than one Lombardi Trophy on this level.
“I’ll give you a little bit of information on how much Chip Kelly loves Marcus Mariota,” said Jaworski. “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 (laughs), 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.”
So if you’re Kelly, do you give up what it takes to move up and land him?
“If this is the guy that you absolutely believe in? If that’s your guy,” said Jaws, “yes.”
Kelly was very complimentary of Winston as well when asked about the quarterbacks in this draft class.
“I think there’s two really good ones. Two really good ones,” he said. “Jameis is really good. Do I like Jameis more? I don’t know Jameis as well. Jameis is a really good quarterback, a really good quarterback. His name will go very quickly, I imagine.”
Will it be called before Mariota’s? That seems like a little bit less of a slam dunk — for this week, anyway.