The number one pick of this year’s draft played against the number two pick as both Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans started in their rookie debuts. Mariota was absolutely sensational in his debut, finding the endzone several times with ease. Winston however hit the rookie wall in in his first career start. Both teams last year finished the season 2-14 (tied for worst in the NFL).
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota played like a superstar in his first NFL game on the road. The Tampa Bay crowd did not salvage Mariota’s play or confidence at all, leading his team to win big 42-14. The second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft threw over 200 yards passing, put up four touchdowns and astoundingly only threw the pigskin 16 times while completing 13 passes. All of Mariota’s touchdowns came within the first half.
Mariota joined Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton as the only two players to throw four or more touchdowns in their first NFL game. It was an outstanding performance for the young rookie quarterback out of Oregon. He was very content with his performance and made a solid first-impression on Titans fans.
“It felt great,” Mariota said after the game. ”We worked all week to be able to execute well, and to be successful is good for us.”
Jameis Winston, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and first pick of the NFL draft this year, had a very sloppy and sluggish debut. His first pass attempt found the endzone but resulted in points to the opposing team. He threw interceptions earlier in the game but made up for his lackadaisical effort by the throwing two touchdowns later on, both to his colossal tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He passed for 210 yards but it turned out to be a day Winston may want to leave behind him.
Winston felt his pick-six to Titans defensive back Coty Sensabaugh was the play that deflated the entire offense. If that costly mistake was avoided, results could have definitely been different for the rookie quarterback out of Florida State.
“I can’t perform that way in a home opener,” Winston said. “I can always bounce back. It’s not the end of the world.”
Both high-profile quarterbacks had phenomenal collegiate careers. They were tremendous leaders for their schools and had hungry appetites for winning, leading their universities to prestigious championships. Also, both Winston and Mariota have hoisted the Heisman Trophy in their collegiate days. Winston did it in 2013 and Mariota won it the year after.
Just because Mariota and Winston were the top picks in the draft last year does not guarantee them an impressive rookie year. Every rookie needs to study the playback, watch game film, and work extremely hard to get positive results. However they have high expectations for being the future of their franchise.