Wolf prefers Jameis Winston; Polian likes Marcus Mariota

Three months of draft buzz on quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota have forged a widespread presumption that Winston is the better prospect of the two and, at a minimum, the one more ready to help an NFL team win immediately. Yet two former general managers with sterling credentials, both headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, stand in different camps.

Former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf told mmqb.si.com that he prefers Winston over Mariota, while Bill Polian, who worked as a GM for three different clubs, leans toward Mariota.

"... I watched Winston versus Miami before the game, down on the field, and then will his team back from a 16-point deficit," Wolf said. "He's an imposing guy. He has everything you'd want in a quarterback. I thought he was superb. What I know about Winston I like a lot. I'd take him in a heartbeat."

Both attached riders to their preferences -- Wolf conceding he hasn't seen as much of Mariota as Winston, and Polian noting he hasn't had the benefit of seeing psychological reports on either. But even if the psychological assessments were the same on both players, Polian -- who wisely chose Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf as the No. 1 pick in 1998 -- said he would lean toward Mariota.

"Very, very close. But I'd probably lean toward Mariota, as I said. It's closer than Manning-Leaf was. Way closer," Polian said. "More like (Kerry) Collins-(Steve) McNair in '95. With Mariota, I don't think playing from the pocket will be an issue; he did a lot of that in the eight or nine games I saw. And he didn't throw 18 interceptions, either. On 14 of (Winston's) 18 interceptions, Winston didn't see linebackers underneath or he zeroed in on the receiver regardless of coverage."

Projections on Mariota's eventual draft position are widely scattered, from the No. 2 pick of the Tennessee Titans to any number of clubs picking outside the top 10. Meanwhile, it's difficult to find Winston projected anywhere other than No. 1 overall.

By the end of their respective rookie contracts, however, perceptions could easily have flipped.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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