NFL Draft – Inside the Green Room – Volume 1

With New York Jets fans shifting their attention towards the NFL Draft, it’s time to break down what the offseason could bring. Inside the Green Room will be a weekly report covering the hottest topics circulating not only the Jets’ future, but national news in regards to the 2015 NFL Draft. Let’s get to work.

Marcus Mariota vs. Jameis Winston:

Are you sick of it yet? This is the never ending debate, but the bottom line is you do not have to ‘choose a side.’ Both college quarterbacks have had their fair share of success, but they both are flawed prospects at the moment.

Winston is a wild card due to off field issues and his recent struggles with forcing throws into heavy coverage. Mariota’s production has been superb but he runs a shotgun heavy, spread offense. A lot of his throws are ‘safe’ ones, but he has an NFL arm and plenty of athletic ability.

So how do you evaluate them? It’s not easy, but the key with Mariota is watching him vs. the difficult competition he faced (and will face) in the 2014 season. His tape vs. a strong Washington Huskies’ defense that contains multiple potential first round prospects was relatively underwhelming, even though Oregon won 45-20.

In a very similar situation, Mariota struggled vs. Arizona in the Pac-12 championship. Oregon blew out the Wildcats, but Mariota missed multiple throws and had two potential pick sixes dropped. On the other side of things, he had one throw down the seam that was as good as any college quarterback has thrown all year. He also proved to be impossible for Arizona’s edge defenders to contain.

As I previously stated, the skill set is there, but he is far from a ‘sure thing’ and will need time to adjust to various aspects of the NFL. These include but are not limited to interior pressure, faster defenders on the edge, and ball security (over 25 career fumbles).

As for Winston, his struggles are maddening because they happen both on and off the field. He continues to find new ways to be portrayed negatively. Listen, there is no reason to avoid drafting a kid over a ‘snap chat’ request gone wrong. It’s the collective effort of incident after incident.

As for his on the field play, he has succeeded in a pro system displaying a top flight, NFL ready arm. His interceptions have been extremely disappointing this season as he continues to force the ball, but he continues to shine when it matters, leading FSU to a 12-0 record. Former FSU wide out Kelvin Benjamin helped bail Winston out on multiple occasions in 2013, this year he does not have that kind of help and it has showed.

Both quarterback prospects will have big time opportunities if their teams make the NCAA CFB Playoff, where the spotlight will be specifically on the both of them.

Fan Mail: What Should The Jets Do In Round 1?

I get this question quite often on twitter and it is quite difficult to answer. If the draft was this weekend, I’m taking LSU left tackle La’el Collins. He can plug into left guard from day one and transition into the left tackle spot as D’Brickashaw Ferguson ages.

LSU left tackle La’el Collins displaying impressive power.

Look at what the Cowboys are doing with the addition of Zack Martin and more recently what the Rams have done with Tre Mason running behind Greg Robinson and Roger Saffold. Before throwing another quarterback into the fire in New York, set him up to succeed. That all starts up front and in the trenches.

Gold Panning Out West – Washington Huskies:

The Washington Huskies haven’t garnered a ton of hype due to posting an 8-5 record in the extremely competitive Pac-12, but they might be a gold mine for NFL teams looking to draft defense.

Cornerback Marcus Peters is no longer on the team, but he will most likely be a top 20 pick and the top corner in the 2015 draft class. He possesses the traits scouts look for in a ‘shut down’ man to man corner, using his hands at the line of scrimmage and while often playing the ball extremely well.

Outside linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha has 18 sacks this year, while teammate Shaq Thompson (linebacker and running back) has 4 defensive touchdowns and two more on offense.

In the trenches is 340 pound defensive lineman Danny Shelton who has been a terror for offensive lines to handle. He has 9 sacks, 16.5 tackles for a loss, and consistently commands double teams from the opposition.

Hidden Gem Of The Week: Quinten Rollins, DB (Miami, OH)

The 6’1 defensive back at Miami, Ohio has had an impressive season, hauling in 7 interceptions and taking one back for a touchdown. Even more impressive? Rollins was a point guard on Miami’s basketball team for four years and had been out of football since 2009.

Rollins is a freak athlete with good speed, hands, and quick feet. At times, he looks like he is running the wide receiver’s route (as seen below):

His negatives are exactly what you would expect: he is raw as he was out of football for four consecutive years. There are times where his instincts and athleticism cannot cover his technique, but overall there is a lot to like about Quinten Rollins.

Follow Connor Rogers: @CRogers_NFL