By: Seminole Buccaneer, Published April 17, 2015 10:52 PM EST
Things are about to get real for Bucs fans. This off-season has divided the fan base that is starving for a winner. When we ended up with the first overall pick, the debate started to smolder. Who to pick? Do we trade? Winston? Mariota? The debate is now a roaring inferno and with the draft about two weeks away it’s showing no sign of letting up.
The social media timelines blow up each and every day. If Winston sneezes it’s somehow a story. If Mariota coughs it’s somehow proof he isn’t a good QB. It’s getting to be a bit much, but this my friends is what comes with having the first pick.
While surfing through the online groups and fan pages it’s clear that people see what they want to see. What’s also clear is when the draft starts and the pick is either made or traded, several people are going to be upset.
There seems to be four factions in this debate: The pro Winston fans (Winstonites) are confident that Jameis will be a Buccaneer and be the franchise QB they have long coveted. The Winston haters (Haters 5.0), who want anyone but Jameis, the Mariota supporters (the Mariota mob), who are closely aligned with the Winston haters, but swear it’s because they just like Marcus better. Finally there’s the trade the pick crowd (The Traders) who want the Bucs to pull a draft day blockbuster deal.
The Haters 5.0 are comprised of several different types of fans. Some are fans of schools that lost to Winston and the Seminoles over the last couple of years and just can’t bring themselves to look past their college affiliations. Then there’s the fans that look down their nose and say “he has character issues”. Strangely, these people, for the most part, had little to no problem when it was reported the Bucs were interested in bringing in Adrian Peterson or Greg Hardy. The same crowd also points to Winston’s arrogance and say “he’s too cocky to play with professionals” because for some reason being a confident QB in the NFL is a bad thing. This crowd loves to scream from the mountain tops that Winston is always in trouble, yet it’s been nearly a year since he was in trouble for partaking in a free food hookup from a local grocery chain. Last but not least they look through his stats and say “look at all those interceptions” while ignoring what many of the experts and even the coaches say that a good portion of those were due to receivers not running the proper route or finishing the route that was called. The Haters 5.0 crowd has been loud and boisterous (you know what they say is a bad trait of Winstons) but when it comes down to it they are what I’ve named them….Haters
The Mariota Mob
Marcus Mariota is coming off of an extremely successful career at Oregon, acquired a fan base of die-hard fans most of which if they were honest have watched less then a handful of his games. The Mariota Mob isn’t much different than the Haters 5.0 crowd, they just chose to focus on the stat comparison of the two qbs which is fine, but skewed at best. This crowd says stuff like “his touchdown to interception ratio is amazing”, “his completion percentage is higher than Winstons”, and my favorite “he can run like a running back, he could run for 1,000 yards in the NFL”. The Mariota Mob will drill these stats into your head until your ears bleed. The problem here is Oregon runs an offense that is designed to have the QB make one, or on occasion two reads. More often than not those reads are wide open. This won’t be the case in the NFL. That said, the Mariota Mob will continue to point at stats and even go so far as to say “he beat Winston head to head” as if they were playing a game of one on one. The majority if the “experts” say Mariota would need a year or so to “learn” the game. Doesn’t that seem to be a mob buster of a statement?
Supporting Jameis Winston has been a full-time job. The list of his transgressions is nearly as long as the list if his accomplishments. The Winstonites will divert your attention from the off field issues by pointing to the National Championship he won. They will tell you that the media has blown the majority of it out of proportion. This is true for the most part, but Winston brought this on himself. The Winstonites will tell you about how great of a teammate he is, about how competitive he is. They will say when Winston has the ball that you just know he’ll lead you to victory. That was true in all but one game in his college career. The Winstonites have an answer for anything and everything anybody says bad about Jameis. They will point out his magnetic personality, his smile that lights up a room. They will quote his teammates and coaches saying that he is the guy that the team looks to in tough situations. They will tell you his stats aren’t as good as the previous year because of having less talent to work with. The Winstonites are passionate and proud of Jameis mostly because they are also Florida State fans. That fact could blind them to Winston’s faults, it definitely hasn’t helped their credibility in most arguments.
The Traders are the most interesting faction. They stand behind the principal that none of the QB’s in this draft are worthy of a first overall selection and the Bucs would be better served in trading out of the first overall pick and stockpiling as many picks as possible. The Traders love the sound of that. They bolster their argument by stating the Bucs need help at several positions. One of the reasons they want to trade out of the first overall pick is that Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith hasn’t exactly had great success developing young QB’s. Another reason is that the Bucs offensive line is well, offensive. The issue with the Traders theory is: who will they trade with? Who is willing to give up that many picks in essence mortgaging their future to get one player. This theory isn’t without recent precedent. The St. Louis Rams were able to get a deal of this type a couple years back and benefitted from it greatly. Then again the Rams are still looking for a QB. The traders have a valid point in that the Bucs need help at several positions but the chance to draft what many people say is a once in a generation QB seems to much to pass on or trade away. Another fault in the traders theory is they say none of the QB’s in this draft are worthy of a first overall pick, but expect some other team to give away a bounty of picks to move up. Seems like sound logic right?
So what does it all mean? What is the right move for the Bucs? I come out on the fence here. My thoughts are if the Bucs are looking to draft a QB then Winston has to be the guy. If they aren’t sure then they have to explore any and all trade options. While that is good news to the Winstonites and The Traders, it leaves The Haters and The Mariota Mob in a distant second. Just like the Ducks were with Mariota at the helm.