Back in 2015, the two best quarterbacks in the 2015 draft were Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Both Heisman trophy winners thought to be great franchise quarterbacks. After being taken 1st and 2nd overall respectively, the fourth year quarterbacks have been somewhat underwhelming so far. Let’s take a look at how each quarterback’s careers have looked up this point and how they can possibly pan out for the future.
Marcus MariotaWeek 1 of the 2015 season pitted these two rookie quarterbacks against each other. Mariota’s first career pass attempt was to wide receiver Kendall Wright who took it 52 yards to the house for a touchdown. Mariota threw for 209 yards, 4 touchdowns and just 2 incompletions to finish out the game. Mariota became the first quarterback in NFL history to have a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in their first career start. For just being a rookie he had a pretty good year throwing for nearly 3,000 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a passer rating of 91.5. In 2016 interim head coach Mike Mularkey was promoted to full time head coach and it was a breakout season for Mariota. He nearly lead the Titans to their first playoff birth in 8 years before fracturing his right fibula in a Week 16 loss to the Jaguars. 2017 was meant to be the year that Mariota would lead the Titans to the playoffs which he did, but his performance was very underwhelming throughout the year. Mariota suffered a hamstring injury in Week 4 and forced him to miss one game. His performance in 2017 certainly did not match that of his previous 2 seasons. Ending the season with only 13 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 79.3. His worst performance of his career came in a Week 11 game against the Steelers in which he threw 4 interceptions. He gained some of his past glory back after leading a come back win against the Chiefs in the playoffs. With the new coaching staff of the Titans, new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur should help Mariota out in becoming a top tier quarterback in the league with his work with Matt Ryan during his MVP season and a breakout year for the Rams offense with Jared Goff.
Jameis WinstonJameis Winston has had a very similar career as Marcus Mariota, two very good first years and the third year it kind of drops off. His first two years were very promising, showing that one day he could be a top quarterback in the league. The stats for his first two years included 4,000 yards each year and throwing for 20 plus touchdowns each of those years. The 2017 season, however, was a drop off compared to his other years. He had a shoulder injury in Week 6 against Arizona and sat out for 3 games out of the year. Many have compared Winston’s play to Eli Manning as in he can make some great plays when he needs to, but can be very inconsistent at times and cost the teams some games. That is really the key difference between the two quarterbacks; consistency. Mariota has shown in game that he can drive a team downfield and win a game while Winston has shown accuracy and consistency issues. Only time will tell how these young quarterbacks will fare in the league and which ones will have the better career.