Mariota or Winston? Buccaneers GM says team 'comfortable making the pick'

Tampa Bay General Manager Jason Licht says his team is comfortable and ready to make first pick in NFL draft

Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston? It's not clear who the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take with the first overall pick in next week's NFL draft, but General Manager Jason Licht said his team is ready to make that selection.

"Going back all the way to the [combine], we said we had a leader in the clubhouse," Licht said, according to NFL.com. "We still do. If we had to pick today, we'd feel very comfortable making the pick."

The Buccaneers last drafted a quarterback in the first round in 2009 when they took Josh Freeman out of Kansas State with the 17th overall pick. In 2013, Freeman was benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. He was released before the end of that season after the team failed to trade Freeman away. 

This time around, Tampa Bay will have to make a philosophical choice between Mariota, a spread offense, option-type quarterback and Winston, a prototypical pocket passer. Both are Heisman Trophy winners with experience in big games including the national championship, though only Winston has a national title on his resume.

At Oregon, in three college seasons, Mariota completed 66.8% of his passes for 10,796 yards and 105 touchdowns with just 14 total interceptions. He also rushed for an additional 2,237 yards scoring an additional 29 times.

Winston threw 40 touchdown passes at Florida State in his first season with the Seminoles with only 10 passes intercepted by the defense. In his second and final year, he had 25 touchdowns with 18 picks. 

"Personally, I think it's probably the biggest draft in the history of the organization," Licht said. "We've got a real chance to really put us over the top and get us to a level that we think we're going to be at this year -- which is competing for a championship. It's a great draft to have the No. 1 pick."

The NFL draft begins April 30 in Chicago. 

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

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