Phil Simms likes Marcus Mariota a lot. He sees in Mariota a prospect with good size, good running ability and a solid NFL arm. He sees someone who doesn’t lock in on one receiver, someone who can find the open man and someone who is an excellent leader.

And yet, Simms believes Jameis Winston is a better prospect.

“Lot of answers to that, but just to make it simple, yes,” the CBS NFL analyst said on CB Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Because we know there’s not as many questions about the physical play and how he played and his physical attributes. It will translate to the NFL. So in that aspect, (Winston is) a safer pick.”

Safer, yes, but not a sure thing. Winston, as we all know, carries off-the-field risk. He also carries something else: excess weight.

“I don’t mean to get on Jameis Winston, but he was overweight and he had to lose weight for the combine,” Simms said. “To me, when you’re talking about quarterbacks, that is a big deal. It bothers me. And I hope it’s not a part of his NFL career where he’s carrying extra weight around. Let’s think about NFL quarterbacks. Who’s really heavy and sloppy and all that? The answer is (no one).”

As Doug Gottlieb pointed out, many people compare Winston, who is listed at 6-4, 231 pounds, to Ben Roethlisberger, who is listed at 6-5, 241. Simms, however, isn’t too enamored with that comparison.

“It’s just not true,” he said. “They’re not in the same class physically. Ben Roethlisberger, when you meet him, he is one big human being. He might weigh 250 pounds, but 248 of it’s bone. People say, ‘Is he overweight?’ Well, he sure doesn’t look it. In fact, you kind of think ‘Man, he looks a little trim when you see him in person.’ But when he puts that uniform on, he plays like he weighs 270 – and he’s got good feet and he’s got a great throwing arm.”

Then there are those who compare Winston to Byron Leftwich, a bigger quarterback who wasn’t exactly known for his wheels or quick delivery. That comparison may be slightly better, as Simms feels that Winston has great rhythm throwing the football but isn’t a “quick-twitch guy.”

“In other words, he’s not a guy that can just stand there and take his hand and kind of rip it and throw it down the field like you can see (with) Matt Stafford, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers – the top throwers,” Simms said. “He’s not in that league. But he is a very good thrower of the football. Controls it, uses his body. He’s a baseball pitcher, so he knows how to get leverage when he’s throwing the football. He’s good at that.

“The things you worry about: the weight, the off-the-field (issues) and his movement in the pocket,” Simms continued. “Even though he plays in a big-time pro system down there at Florida State, I wish there was a little more pop in his feet. It’s hard to explain. It’s like jumping rope. You see Peyton Manning, Tom Brady – all the guys that you think can’t run – but they have those great feet in the pocket. I didn’t quite see as much of that from Jameis Winston as I probably would have liked.”


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