Where does Marcus Mariota rank among NFC South Quarterbacks?
By Nick Halden
2. Jameis Winston
Which version of Jameis Winston will the Saints be getting this off-season? The player who threw 30 interceptions in his final season with Tampa or the player who started the year 5-2 and was a great game manager for New Orleans last season? Winston was almost unrecognizable in his first five starts with the Saints. He played complementary football and set the Saints’ offense up for success. No longer the mistake-prone gunslinger he was in Tampa.
Five years in Tampa would suggest the first half of last season was the outlier for Winston. However, considering Sean Payton’s track record and the New Orlean’s culture it wouldn’t be shocking to see Winston transform himself into a capable franchise quarterback. While he is never going to be a top-ten player at his position the Winston we watched last season would have had the Saints in the playoffs as a real contender based on the roster talent.
Regardless of which version the Saints get of Winston, they will have the second-best quarterback in the division and a real shot at being a wildcard contender. The biggest challenge for Winston will be the first quarter of the season when it seems likely the team may be without star running back Alvin Kamara. That starts in week one when the Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons to kick off the season.