Good Evening
Good Evening

Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota go 1-2 in NFL Draft

Jameis Winston, left, and Marcus Mariota were selected

Jameis Winston, left, and Marcus Mariota were selected No. 1 and No. 2 overall, respectively, in the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 30, 2015. Credit: AP composite

CHICAGO - All that pre-draft intrigue, all that speculation about blockbuster trades, and then this:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans, with the first and second overall picks respectively, fielded plenty of calls from teams interested in trading to the top of the draft. But the two quarterback-needy teams resisted all inquiries and Thursday night went with the two players who made the most sense all along.

The Bucs, who hadn't had the first overall pick since 1987, the year they took former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Vinny Testaverde, selected another Heisman winner, Florida State's Jameis Winston. One pick later, the Titans took reigning Heisman winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

"I'm so happy to be here with my family and get to embrace this opportunity to be a Buc now," said Winston, who watched the draft from his home in Alabama.

The Bucs spent several months looking into Winston's background over concerns about off-field issues that included a rape allegation for which he was not charged, the theft of crab legs from a grocery store and a profane tirade in the school's student union that led to a one-game suspension. But the team was sufficiently satisfied that Winston will mature into a responsible player on and off the field.

"I've got to be thankful for the opportunity," Winston said. "Thank you for accepting me as your quarterback and I look forward to getting in there with the guys, earning a spot and competing my tail off and bring us some wins."

Titans general manager Ruston Webster said the team's plan all along was to draft Mariota, but he did listen to offers. Reports indicated that the Browns and Eagles pushed hardest to make a deal.

"It was going to be difficult to convince us to back out," Webster said. "We had conversations with different teams, but nothing to the point of us not picking Marcus."

The knock on Mariota is that he comes from a spread offense and could have problems adjusting to the pro game. "There are going to be some things he's had success with in college we'll incorporate in what we do," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I don't think it's going to be that challenging. I'm excited about doing that . . . We'll see how it grows, what he can handle and how he can progress."

Wide receivers were taken early and often, with the Raiders picking Alabama star Amari Cooper No. 4, the Bears taking West Virginia's Kevin White at No. 7 and the Dolphins taking Louisville's DeVante Parker at 14. The Eagles took USC's Nelson Agholor 20th. Six receivers were taken in the first round.

Washington surprisingly took Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff with the fifth pick. Atlanta chose Vic Beasley of Clemson at No. 8.

Two running backs went in the first round, the first time since the 2012 draft that any running back went in the first round. Georgia's Todd Gurley went to the Rams at No. 10 and the Chargers traded up two spots with the 49ers to get Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon at 15.

Three cornerbacks -- Michigan State's Trae Waynes, Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson and Washington's Marcus Peters -- went in the first 18 picks, and defensive back Byron Jones of UConn went 27th.

New York Sports