The recent trend of top ranked quarterbacks not throwing at the NFL Combine will come to an end this year, at least for one year. It’s being reported that both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota will throw at the NFL Combine on Saturday.
One of the reasons could be the added pressure that is put on quarterbacks to preform flawlessly at their Pro Day if they don’t perform at the Combine. As pointed out by ESPN writer Chase Goodbread this backfired on a top ranked quarterback last season….
It’s not uncommon for elite-level quarterback prospects to wait until their on-campus pro day workout — where they can throw in a familiar environment to wide receivers with whom they have built years of chemistry — to show off their passing skills.
The move backfired on Teddy Bridgewater last year. Bridgewater decided to skip the combine passing drills, but had one of the poorest pro days by a quarterback in recent memory. Seen beforehand as a potential top-10 pick, his stock plummeted and he was taken by the Minnesota Vikings with the final pick of the first round.
Blake Bortles, on the other hand, was the only quarterback of the top four to throw at the 2014 combine. He emerged as one of the event’s stars and his stock skyrocketed. He followed it up with a clean pro day and eventually became the top quarterback drafted, taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the third overall pick.
Bortles ended up going third to Jacksonville while Bridgewater went thirty-second to Minnesota. Bridgewater finished the season with a better completion percentage and better TD:INT ratio than Bortles and Bridgewater was named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year for the 2014 season.
The biggest difference between Bortles and Bridgewater, though, was not on the field but in their salary. Bortles signed a four year $20.6 million deal while Bridgewater signed for the same amount of years but for $13.75 million less.
With this much at stake, and the media more critical and present than they ever have been in the past, Mariota and Winston throwing at the NFL Combine is one of the top off-season stories.
Experts will tell you that the medical testing at the NFL Combine is the most important (and unhyped) aspect of this weekend but the eye ball test will be huge as the media and fans will have a chance to make their opinions on Mariota and Winston and you can bet the full power of social media will be seen on Saturday for better or for worse.