(Photo courtesy of Arizona Cardinals)
Talk of Fame Network
Corey Chavous is a former defensive back whose 11-year pro career includes a Pro Bowl selection, 20 interceptions and a reputation as one of the students of the game. His career ended in 2008, but his studying did not. In fact, Corey Chavous today serves as a TV analyst for collegiate broadcasts while running his own NFL draft site, draftnasty.com, where he's studied over 700 players for this week's draft.
So he knows what general managers and scouts are evaluating. And he knows what he’d do if he were Tampa Bay and had to choose between quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston on Thursday.
“If I had to choose one,” he said on the Talk of Fame’s latest radio broadcast, “I would choose Mariota. I think both of them can be franchise quarterbacks down the road. But in the NFC right now, you have a different landscape than in the AFC.
"In the AFC, you’ve got quarterbacks like a Zack Mettenberger, who could probably have success with the Titans. You look around that conference, you’re looking at a Ben Roethlisberger. You’re looking at a Tom Brady. You’re looking at Ryan Tannenhill, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Derek Carr in Oakland … then you go to Alex Smith, who’s probably the most mobile.
“But in the NFC, you’ve got a different beast. Even if you want to say (Aaron) Rodgers is a traditional pocket passer, he’s clearly he’s the best quarterback throwing on the move in the league. Then you have Russell Wilson who’s gone to back-to-back Super Bowls; Colin Kaepernick went to a Super Bowl and back-to-back NFC championship games and Cam Newton going to back to back division championships. So if you’re the Buccaneers, you’ve got to be able to run the ball in that conference. And quarterbacks who can run in that conference are the ones winning in the playoffs.”
But that doesn’t mean Chavous thinks Mariota is the best player in the draft. In fact, he doesn’t.
“Leonard Williams is the best one,” he said of the USC defensive lineman. “He’s a different type of athlete to come into the league. People forget he’s 300 pounds when you watch him move around and (that he has) 35-inch arms. This is a rare player to come in … in terms of what he can do and how he can move up and down the defensive line.
“I went to a game against Fresno State in 2013 – the Las Vegas Bowl -- and he was standing up most of the second half as an outside linebacker, a rush linebacker. You delve back into some of the ways (USC) used him in prior years, and you’d be surprised at some of the things they did with him.”