That comes from an NFL personnel man who ranked them all for mmqb.si.com, and the results suggest Winston could definitely be something special. Among 14 quarterbacks -- 12 picked in the first round since 2011, plus Winston and Mariota, Indianapolis Colts star Andrew Luck, of course, rated at the top. Winston ranked second, while Mariota ranked sixth, behind Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, and -- gulp -- Blaine Gabbert.
"The only reason Gabbert was rated higher than Mariota is that I think they saw fewer fundamental flaws with Gabbert," the scout said. "Obviously you fast forward and this guy's a gigantic bust. Mariota falls into the (Johnny) Manziel category for us, though bigger and with a little more polish."
According to the report, the scout is a "high-ranking" personnel evaluator who works for neither the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nor the Tennessee Titans, who hold the first two picks of the draft and thus the first to chances at Winston or Mariota. As for Winston, the scout said his 18 interceptions last year haven't deterred the club from giving him a high grade.
"A quarterbacks coach will tell you that Winston has fewer issues than Cam or RG3. Most guys are looking for a strong-armed pocket passer with the ability to read coverage. There's no projecting that with Jameis; he's already able to do it," the scout said. "We have Winston high, but don't believe he's quite as skilled as Luck."