NFL combine indicates Winston will be first QB drafted

Turning pro in the sport of baseball or basketball is not nearly as difficult a transition than what is required for a college quarterback to join the National Football League.

Major league baseball is the same game as the one played by colleges and universities with the exception of the use of wooden bats instead of those ultra-lively aluminum ones used by the amateurs.

And the National Basketball Association plays by the same basic rules as the collegiate game, except it is quite a bit faster with much less time to shoot a basket.

But being an NFL quarterback is as different as night and day from the game being played in college. 

According to an article appearing in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle, “While amateur offenses spread out farther and roll off points faster than in the past, professional franchise quarterbacks just can’t be found.

“The kids with the killer arms and swift legs can’t survive in the NFL, spinning in circles while the weight of a slowly-changing league drags them down.”

The article points out that Baylor led the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring last season, averaging 48.2 points and reaching 60 four times. Oregon was fourth with 45.4, breaking 50 five times.

But the Bears’ quarterback Bryce Perry and the Ducks’ Marcus Mariota will have to re-learn their position as pros, throwing away years of progress and hoping they can adapt to a new world in the NFL. 

           Mariota admits he has not been in a huddle since high school. Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians commented, “So many times you’re evaluating a quarterback who has never called a play in a huddle and never used a snap count.

“They hold up a card on the sideline, the quarterback kicks his foot and throws the ball—that ain’t playing quarterback. There’s no leadership involved there. When you get them and they have to use verbiage and they have to spit the verbiage out and change the snap count, they are light years behind,” Arians concluded.

During the last five drafts, only Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (No. 1 overall, 2012) and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (No. 75, 2012) are considered among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.

Cam Newton has led Carolina to the playoffs two consecutive seasons, but was erratic last year. Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, Washington’s Robert Griffin III, Philadelphia’s Nick Foles and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford have both shined and sputtered. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill stepped forward in 2014.

There also were some draft disasters during that time period, too, like Tim Tebow, Geno Smith, E.J. Manuel, Brandon Weeden and Blaine Gabbert. 

“Some were typecast and cast out. Some were rushed, thrown into the chaos of a win-now league and never given the time they needed to adjust to their new world. Some just never had it, thriving in college and quickly dying in the pros,” the Chronicle article pointed out.

“The most recent potential bust was the biggest name in the 2014 draft—Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel,” the article concluded.

“As for the 2015 quarterback prospects, only Florida State’s Jameis Winston is viewed as pro-ready. UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Mariota and Petty are among the projects, with a clear drop-off after Winston, the early favorite for the No. 1 pick, and Mariota, the 2014 Heisman trophy winner,” the Chronicle story predicted.

Winston completed 16-of-16 passes in drills Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis where the combine took place last week and ended Monday. Mariota, who had a better time than Winston in the 40, connected on 13-of-15 passes. 

           However, Winston is a semi-traditional pocket passer and is the only elite prospect at the quarterback position and therefore viewed as pro-ready and favored to be the No. 1 pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL draft set for April 30-May2.

“The NFL is going to have to start getting used to evaluating these spread quarterbacks. It’s really hard,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “When you watch Hundley and Petty within the framework of their offense, they’ve got a long way to go to become pocket quarterbacks.

“They don’t throw with anticipation. If the first look isn’t there, both of them are hesitant and indecisive, which leads to sacks and other problems.

“You want to say you’re going to need at least a redshirt year as a second or third-round draft pick. But what they need is live snaps, not 7-on-7 snaps in practice,” Mayock observed.

KWICKIES…While playing in a threesome with Craig Couvillion and Bob Hoepner at Sunset Grove Country Club Sunday, Couvillion observed a bird walking along the cart path of the Par 5, No. 7 hole that he didn’t recognize. And Craig is really up on his bird identifications. He scouted the Internet for several minutes and saw a photo of the exact bird under the category of partridge. You never know what kind of critter you’ll run across at Sunset Grove.

Twenty-four year-old Joey Logano became the second youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 Sunday and the $1.58 million for first place. He is youngest driver to win the prestigious event behind Trevor Bayne, who was 20 when he pulled off an upset victory in 2011.

Sergio Garcia, in his true form, bogeyed the final two holes and blew a chance to win last weekend’s Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles after teeing off on No. 17 with a one-shot lead. But his bogey on 17 put him into a first-place logjam and the bogey on No. 18 took him out of playoff contention, which was eventually won by long-shot James Hahn, who sunk a 25-foot birdie on the third extra hole to defeat Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey. Hahn pocketed $1,206,000 by firing rounds of 66-74-69-69—278.

Kentucky Derby hopeful Far Right overtook a three-wide group of leaders to win the $300,000 Southwest stakes by 1¾ lengths in a driving rainstorm Sunday at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. Far Right was ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and followed his come-from-behind win in last month’s Smarty Jones where he also beat the favorite Mr. Z, who is trained by D. Wayne Lukas.

Adrian Peterson’s agent reportedly got into a heated verbal altercation with the Minnesota Vikings’ front office Monday afternoon and told them Peterson will never play for the Vikings again.

When the NFL competition committee meets in Naples, Fla. this weekend, many coaches and team officials may propose taking another look at expanding replay and possibly making penalties reviewable. Replays become a hot topic each off-season because of lingering memories of controversial plays like the non-call in the Detroit Lions-Dallas Cowboys playoff game and Dez Bryant’s attempt to catch a pass against Green Bay which was ruled a reception and then overturned.

The Lamar Cardinals baseball team proved to be unruly hosts last weekend as they swept a four-game series from Manhattan at Vincent-Beck Field in Beaumont. The Cards scored 39 runs and only allowed nine in the four games as they improved their early-season record to 6-2. The Redbirds return to action this weekend with a three-game series against UT-Pan American at Vincent Beck Field.

Former Beaumont Ozen star basketball player Kendrick Perkins reportedly has signed a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers after being waived by the Utah Jazz Saturday. At 6-10, 280 pounds, Perkins will give the Cavs additional size and strength and a tough, physical defensive presence off the bench. Perkins played with the Boston Celtics when they won a title in 2008 and also went to the NBA Finals with Oklahoma City.

JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Texans most likely will use their 16th pick in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft on an edge rusher, wide receiver, defensive end or offensive tackle. And they’re in luck because this year’s draft is loaded with talented players at those positions, according to the recently-completed combine at Indianapolis. The Texans also may need a cornerback if they lose Kareem Jackson to free agency.