Despite the complete assurance early on that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going with Jameis Winston as their number one draft pick, recent rumors and suggestions make it seem like Marcus Mariota is their preferred quarterback, or maybe even trading the pick.
Ron Jaworski of ESPN is the latest talking head to make a suggestion that things are changing at the top of the draft, hinting that the transfer from scouts to coaches and general managers getting more and more involved in the final weeks leading up to the draft always brings a very different set of results compared to the hype we hear in the pre-April months.
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. 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.
But not everything (or even most things) Jaworski says comes true. Most mock drafts still pick Winston to go number one overall and Mariota to either follow at second or perhaps drop to number six, unless a trade is made.
One thing is quite clear – the Buccaneers are going with a quarterback with the number one overall pick (unless they get a nice, fat appealing trade package which isn’t too likely), which narrows things down to just these two players. Anything else will be a nine-on-the-richter scale surprise.