The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans drafted quarterbacks with the first two picks in the 2015 NFL draft. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota now carry the fortunes of their respective franchise, and any success or failure of these teams as a whole will be attributed to these two quarterbacks -- justified or no. And with that will come a slew of comparisons throughout the offseason, and especially the regular season.
Those comparisons aren't going to be very useful, but they're going to dominate the NFL narrative, just as it dominated the pre-draft narrative. Alex Marvez gave us a head start on the regular season discussion, naming the Bucs and Titans as one (yes, one) of his ten most intriguing teams.
Once again, there is excitement surrounding the NFL's worst two squads from 2014. That's because the Buccaneers and Titans used the draft's first two picks on QBs Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota respectively. Both project to open the season as starters, meaning Winston and Mariota will take their lumps as they adjust from college. While both teams are unlikely to make the playoffs again this year, the hope is that Winston and Mariota show enough promise to indicate Tampa Bay and Tennessee are back on track for respectability.
This storyline is going to stay with us throughout the season, but I'm not terribly interested in it. I'd rather compare Winston's progress to historical rookies and the rest of the NFL than to Marcus Mariota. While I think Mariota will be a very good player, we have seen players play well for a single season before coming back to earth -- most recently Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles, but also Josh Freeman. The long term is a lot more significant than the rookie season, here.
Both players are also in very different situations, on different teams, in different settings, with different teammates. Winston's success may be due to his better receiving corps, or his failure may be due to a leaky offensive line -- and the same could be said for Mariota. As always, a quarterback's play rests mostly on his shoulders, but that doesn't mean his supporting cast is insignificant.
None of that is going to stop people from bringing up this narrative over and over again, even if it should.