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Columnist Norman Chad takes an in-depth look at Mariota and Winston

Norman Chad

So, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston? Who will be the superior NFL quarterback? At this moment, Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Mayock are debating this at an NFL Draftniks Anonymous meeting in Todd McShay’s basement.

Mariota or Winston? It’s like the argument that Eddie had with Shrevie and Modell in the 1982 film “Diner”: “Sinatra or Mathis?” Boogie ended the Sinatra-or-Mathis dispute by simply saying, “Presley.”

Which means, in deciding between Mariota and Winston, maybe the correct answer is “Brett Hundley.”

Anyway, the NFL draft is next week. Couch Slouch has watched so much film on these guys, I can tell you which one sneezes better. With a clicker, a clipboard and a crayon, I have compiled a list of 12 categories comparing the two Heisman Trophy winners. Here are my findings:

Turnovers: At Oregon last season, Mariota attempted 445 passes with only four interceptions; at Florida State, Winston attempted 467 passes with 18 interceptions. Ball security is of the essence in the NFL, or as Mike Ditka told me last week, “Turnovers will kill you.” Edge: Mariota.

NFL readiness: Mariota ran a spread-option offense at Oregon and operated out of the shotgun. Winston ran a pro-style offense at FSU and once went on a shooting spree at an apartment complex with a BB gun. Edge: Mariota.

Communication skills: Mariota is shy in public, a reluctant speaker when he has to take the podium. Winston stood atop a table in the student union last autumn and shouted an obscene phrase directed at women. Edge: Mariota.

Legal team: Mariota does not have a lawyer. Winston’s former attorney, David Cornwell, recently said of Winston, “He’s ready to be an NFL player on the field. But he’s not ready to be an NFL player off the field.” And this guy was representing him. Edge: Mariota.

(Column Intermission: Breakout stars like Stephen Curry and Jordan Spieth are riveting, but you want to know what really makes my mustache curl? A bowler. His name is Jason Belmonte. He’s made the TV finals in 10 of the last 12 PBA majors. The 31-year-old Australian is the best in the game; he’s personable, dynamic and rolls the ball with two hands. Why doesn’t everyone do this? He’s the Thomas Edison of bowling. If I wasn’t with Toni and he wasn’t with Kimberly, I’d marry him tomorrow.)

Academic accolades: In 2012, Mariota was named Pac-12 Academic All-Conference Honorable Mention. In 2012-13 and 2013-14, Winston made the All-ACC Academic Honor Roll. The ACC, however, is the home of the likes of North Carolina, meaning you can be academically honored while attending “phantom classes.” Edge: Mariota.

Course of study: Mariota earned a degree in general science. Winston was an exploratory major – that’s when you are exploring your options, like whether to go to class or not – though his father says Jameis would’ve gotten an engineering degree if he didn’t leave school early. Uh huh. Edge: Mariota.

Singles scene: Mariota broke up with his long-time high school sweetheart last year and settled in with a new girlfriend. Winston had a sexual encounter in 2012 that he says was “consensual” with an FSU classmate who accused him of sexual assault. Edge: Mariota.

Vertical jump: Mariota – 36 inches; Winston – 28½ inches. But Winston’s jump easily exceeds Mariota’s best numbers when he’s hopping a fence after departing a supermarket with $32.72 worth of stolen crab legs. Edge: Mariota

Athleticism: Mariota is a fluid runner, with great acceleration to the perimeter. Winston has pedestrian 4.97 speed in the 40, but it improves to 4.29 when he’s fleeing a crime scene. Edge: Mariota.

Height: Both players are nearly 6 foot, 4 inches tall, but Winston slouches a bit when he’s leaving Burger King with soda he has not paid for. Edge: Mariota.

Hobbies: Mariota likes to go to the library. Winston likes to hunt squirrels. Edge: Mariota.

Networking: Mariota tends to keep to himself. Winston met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month – it never hurts to brown-nose the big boss. Edge: Winston.

Ask The Slouch

   Q. When they put together a group of journalists on TV to discuss sports, why are you never part of the panel? (Seymour Chad; Silver Spring, Maryland)

   A. Listen, Dad, it’s embarrassing that you feel the need to do my bidding publicly. Then again, this just might be a cheap ploy on your part to start recovering 5½ years of my University of Maryland tuition you paid, a buck-and-a-quarter at a time.

Q. You got pull in Bristol – can your ESPN friends get rid of that new strike zone box on their baseball telecasts? (Neal Irwin; Delmar, New York)

A. I hate it, too. I just use a Sharpie on my 60-inch flat-screen TV and turn the strike zone box into Tic Tac Toe. Loads of fun with a six-pack of Yuengling!

Q. When I get my annual call from the Redskins to upgrade my season tickets, can I ask them to upgrade me to New England Patriots season tickets? (Lewis Gertz; Darnestown, Maryland)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Norman Chad is a syndicated columnist. You, too, can enter his $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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