Greg Cosell appeared on the latest Ross Tucker Football Podcast, which is a pretty good listen every week. And as per usual, he talked about Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota and how he translated to the NFL. Nothing shocking here, but his more-detailed breakdowns of players' traits are always interesting.
Cosell seemed pretty impressed with Winston, even as he critiqued him.
"The film shows occasional flashes for ball location, so you have to ask yourself will that be magnified in the NFL with more throws where there are bodies around him," Cosell said on Winston. "He made some misreads and poor decisions, that must be factored into the evaluation. He can be a little reckless and careless with his decision making, will that carry over into the NFL? But the flip side of that is I remember the same discussion was had with Matt Ryan when he came out of Boston College. I believe he threw 19 interceptions his last year at BC. And there were an awful lot of concerns about gee, if you throw a lot of interceptions in college you throw a lot of interceptions in the pros and it hasn't quite worked out that way with Matt Ryan.
"So these are why these guys get paid a whole lot more than you and I, Ross. But the film does show just what I said with Winston. But he's clearly a guy who throws with tremendous anticipation, that's in his DNA, he's a natural anticipation thrower. I think I've mentioned to you, he's a little deliberate in everything he does, that needs to be speeded up a bit. Can you do that? That would be open to discussion. He's not a quick-twitch athlete, he's a more measured and methodical athlete."
See, nuance. That's something we don't have a lot of in this discussion, where oftentimes it seems like you have to either dislike all of a quarterback or love all of it. Both of these quarterbacks have specific traits, some of them positive and some of them negative, and both will need to adjust to the NFL in some ways. And you're allowed to like (or dislike) both prospects. Shocking, right?
"[Winston] needs work as just about every quarterback does on the subtle nuances of playing in the pocket," Cosell said. "But the skill-set foundation is definitely there with Jameis Winston. He's a pocket quarterback. He has a feel for playing in the pocket. He's an anticipation thrower. He's firm in the pocket, he will stand and deliver, he reads coverage, he shows an understanding of how to move and manipulate safetie, he has an understanding of ball location and where to place in relation to the defense."
Cosell's thoughts on Mariota were less interesting, perhaps because he's only watched three games. But the bottom line is similar to what we hear everywhere: Mariota mastered his offense, did everything he needed to do in college -- but there's a lot he'll have to do in the NFL that he wasn't asked to do in college, so projecting him to the NFL is a much more uncertain process. That doesn't mean he can't do any of those things, but would an evaluator feel confident that he's going to learn what he needs to learn, quickly enough?