College football fans across the country have Florida State’s Jameis Winston as the top quarterback in college football. The redshirt-sophomore won a title in his first campaign as the starter for the Seminoles as he helped lead them back to prominence. Some feel that he is the unquestioned first pick of the 2015 NFL draft should he come out of school early. But is it really Winston and everyone else? Those that think he is head and shoulders about everyone else have not met UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, who will rival Winston as the best NFL prospect at quarterback this season.
Last season, Winston received a ton of praise, and rightfully so, for his quarterback play. He tallied 40 total touchdowns and only ten interceptions. But let’s break down those numbers just a little bit more. In three games versus Idaho, Bethune-Cookman and Wake Forest, Winston threw for eight touchdowns and only one interception. Bethune-Cookman was a very good Football Championship Series team, but they were still a way lesser opponent for Florida State. And Wake Forest and Idaho were two of the worst football teams in America at any level. Jameis was throwing against no one those games, so you can take those numbers in those games and throw out the window. Without the numbers from those three games, Winston had 32 total touchdowns and 9 interceptions, which is still a very good season. If you take Winston’s numbers minus the cupcake games and compare them to Hundley’s numbers, they are actually pretty similar. Hundley put up 29 total touchdowns against 11 interceptions as he led the UCLA Bruins to the postseason again. And an area where Hundley has an advantage over Winston is his mobility. Hundley can routinely be seen taking off when all his options ran out, which helped move the chains for his team. At the next level, that will benefit Hundley more due to the speed of the game.
But more than the competition, you also have to look at the off-field concerns with Jameis. It’s not that Jameis is a bad kid or anything, it’s just he has made some questionable decisions. We all have been young before and had bad judgment at times, but Winston’s bad decisions have come at the wrong times. His most notable one is stealing some crab legs from a local Publix near campus. Winston just walked out of the store and did not even attempt to pay for the food. He was temporarily kicked off the Florida State baseball team (Winston is the closer for Florida State’s baseball team) until he completed his community service. He did that and everything moved forward. The incident was not a huge one, but NFL teams are definitely taking notice of this and other occurrences that have happened in his time at Florida State. And these incidents could cause some teams to question whether they want to invest in Jameis as their franchise quarterback. With Hundley, the only issues have been inconsistencies on the field with his decision-making and passing. If a player cannot make consistent decisions on the field, then that can be a huge issue with the team. It can set the team back as many as five years due to a bad pick and can usher a coach out of his current position. With Winston, you never really have to worry about the decision-making and he is one of the best leaders in college football. That, along with his arm, makes him very desirable to many pro teams.
Winston has the arm, confidence and the success that many teams look for in their franchise quarterback. Hundley has the dual threat ability along with the arm to make it happen. But with both there are questions. So, based on the questions and strengths of both, which one would you take?