How Golson compares to Winston

Florida State's (likely) future starter ranks as the seventh-best QB in our PFF rating system. How does he compare to his predecessor?

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser, File)

How Golson compares to Winston

Florida State is facing the unenviable task of replacing a Heisman-winning, national championship- winning, No. 1 overall NFL draft pick quarterback in Jameis Winston. Sean Maguire, the top returning option, struggled in victory against Clemson, finishing the game with a 53.8 percent completion rate and a lower overall grade than Winston received in any game during his career.

However, Jimbo Fisher was able to look outside of the program for a potential solution, landing graduate transfer Everett Golson from Notre Dame to compete with Maguire. While it’s not certain that Golson will beat out Maguire, their respective experience and performances suggest that he should. In fact, Golson is our No. 7 quarterback in PFF rating entering 2015.

Here’s how Golson compares to Winston:

–The ratio of big-time throws to turnover-worthy plays effectively measures the number of excellent passes made compared to the number of poor throws. Steve Palazzolo used it when he broke down Jameis Winston’s play, comparing his stellar 2013 season with his less impressive 2014 campaign. The two had similar ratios: Golson ranked 61st among 129 qualifying QBs, Winston 73rd. Both fell well short of Winston’s outstanding 2.9 ratio in 2013.

–Golson found his man more often with the deep ball, but Winston showed greater precision in the short passing game, completing 79.5 percent of forward passes short of 10 yards, to Golson’s 66.9 percent.

–Both have the ability to extend plays with their feet. The 6-foot Golson is more athletic, but lacks the physique and strength to shrug off defenders like the 6-4 Winston. As a result, Winston was able to demonstrate greater poise under pressure.

Ultimately, Florida State is replacing one very talented but error-prone quarterback with another, but Golson lacks the upside to match Winston’s tape from 2013. Golson has enough talent to ensure that the Seminoles offense remains potent, but if they find themselves in tight situations as often as last season, he may not be able to bail them out the way Winston could.

| Analyst

Kevin has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, with a particular focus on college football.

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