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Behind-the-scenes with ESPN Front Row: http://es.pn/1cDHsAj
On the cover: ESPN The Magazine’s newest addition, Senior Writer Kurt Streeter goes all-access with the draft’s most polarizing player—and arguably the most controversial potential No. 1 pick ever—as he navigates the draft’s unforgiving evaluation process in Jameis Winston is on the clock.
He’s been called a Heisman winner, an alleged rapist, a BCS champ, a thief, a leader, a misogynist, an immature kid, and a transcendent talent. Ultimately, we hope to answer the question that, thus far, has been seemingly unanswerable: Who is Jameis Winston?
NFL Draft Issue Features
The NFL doesn’t quite know what to make of Marcus Mariota. But the film doesn’t lie: The kid is more than just a product of Oregon’s scheme. Mariota threw 91 more touchdowns than interceptions in college, set all sorts of school records and generally made playing QB look easy. So why do some draft pudits have him dropping out of the top five? The reigning Heisman winner played in the fast-paced, ultra-spread Oregon offense, which, critics say, didn’t force him to make many NFL reads or NFL throws. And when that’s the perception, pro talent evaluators often have trouble separating the player from the system. So, we’re going to take a look at the tape, and talk to college/NFL scouts, execs and coaches as a means of showing the true transition that Mariota faces at the next level. By Mike Sando
In The Mag’s eighth annual NFL Draft edition, we gave the quarterbacks not named Winston and Mariota their own Chicago-style draft party. This all-QB version including UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Alabama’s Blake Sims and Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson get the royal treatment in Chicago. By Morty Ain
Mock This Way
Additional NFL Draft Issue Highlights:
- CBB: Senior Writer Wright Thompson’s Jason Rabedeaux was here documents the story of Jason Rabedeaux, once one of college basketball’s brightest young coaches in the U.S. In 1999, Coach Rab became the head coach at UTEP, replacing Don Haskins. He resigned abruptly several years later, after not winning enough games and a public scandal about him cheating on his wife. He eventually ended up coaching all around Asia, finally settling three years ago in Vietnam. Last fall he died mysteriously in Saigon, leaving his loved ones and colleagues to grapple with how far he’d fallen.
- NHL: We’ve identified four categories that serve as great predictors for NHL playoff success –puck possession, goaltending, special teams/penalty kills and playoff experience. The team that ranks the highest among all the 2015 playoff-bound teams? The Chicago Blackhawks, our pick to win it all. By Ben Arledge
- NBA: Columnist Peter Keating will be applying his signature Giant Killers method to the NBA playoffs and determine which upsets might be brewing in the first round. There’s a much smaller chance than an inferior team can win a seven-game series than a single game, but GK can still help determine which teams can play Goliath.
- NBA: The Cavs are the popular pick to win this year’s title for…well, obvious reasons. But they’re not such a sure thing. We’re breaking down two reasons the Cavs will win it all this year—and two reasons they won’t.
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