If Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are absent for this month's NFL draft it will be a strange, and perhaps unheard of, event.

While there have been cases of top-10 picks skipping the festivities, it is exceedingly rare for two players projected to be selected this early to not be in attendance to shake hands with the commissioner.

If either Heisman-winning quarterback is selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 30, it will be the first time the top overall pick has been absent since Dan Wilkinson in 1994.

With Winston, who is the odds-on favorite to be selected first, there's a sense that his presence at the draft would serve as a distraction. The former Florida State star was the subject of a high profile sexual assault while in college and he was known for his off-the-field antics.

For what it's worth, Winston says he simply wants to celebrate with his family in Alabama.

Interestingly, commissioner Roger Goodell didn't seem too upset with the possibility of Winston's absence.

"I think that it’s something we respect when a player says, 'I’d like to be with my family on that day,'" Goodell told MMQB. "It's an important day for them also."

Mariota cited similar reasons for not making the trek to Chicago for the marquee event of the NFL's offseason.

While it would be unprecedented for two players of this caliber, both star quarterbacks expected to go in the top 10 picks, to skip the draft, they won't be the first high profile players to be absent in recent years.

In 2004 Philip Rivers chose to watch the draft from his couch at home. In the end that may have been a good move, as he didn't have to come on stage and accept a New York Giants jersey. That year's No. 1 overall pick, Eli Manning, was photographed awkwardly smiling while holding a San Diego Chargers jersey.

Manning and Rivers were on the Chargers and Giants, respectively, for only a matter of minutes before being traded for each other.

The scene from Rivers' house was one of surprise, and he's said he was shocked when the Giants picked him.

"I never spoke to any member of the Giants’ organization on draft day," Rivers said. "When I heard my name called, that was the first of any contact I had. I had no contact with anybody, usually they call you beforehand, so I knew something was up there, when you get drafted without even hearing from the team."

A few years later, in 2007, former Wisconsin Badgers left tackle Joe Thomas elected to go fishing rather than hear his named called third in the draft.

"I didn't want to involve myself in all the craziness that goes on (with the draft)," Thomas told reporters. "I knew it was going to be an exciting enough time where I didn't need to go to New York."

Rivers and Thomas have produced stellar careers, with Thomas going to eight Pro Bowls and Rivers making five. Wilkinson, meanwhile, was a solid if not spectacular player. He never made a Pro Bowl team but started 182 games during the course of 13 seasons.

The absences of Winston and Mariota will make it hard for this year's draft to match the incredible TV ratings of the 2014 event. That one tallied 32 million viewers, which was the most ever for the first round.

More: Role Of College Sports Explored In New Campus Sexual Assault Documentary

Heisman Winners And National Champions


1938 Davey O'Brien, TCU

At 140 pounds, O'Brien was a slender quarterback, but a dominant player. His Heisman-winning season saw him throw for 1,733 yards and 19 touchdowns, and he still holds the college football record for most rushing and passing plays in a season, with 400 under his belt. O'Brien led Texas Christian to an undefeated season in 1941 and a share of the national championship. After college, O'Brien enjoyed a short stint in the NFL before briefly serving as an FBI agent.


1941 Bruce Smith, Minnesota

Bruce Smith received his Heisman Trophy just two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. At 200 pounds, Smith was a freight train in the 1940s, and he lead Minnesota to undefeated national championships in both 1940 and 1941, the latter being his Heisman-winning season.


1942 Frank Sinkwich, Georgia

A serviceman through and through, Sinkwich wore his Marine uniform to receive his Heisman Trophy. His 1942 campaign was capped by a dominant Orange Bowl performance in which he piled up 382 combined rushing and passing yards -- still an Orange Bowl record. The victory lifted Georgia to a share of the 1942 national championship. (Ohio State was No. 1 in the final AP poll, which in those days was published after the regular season, but didn't play a bowl game.)


1943 Angelo Bertelli, Notre Dame

Before entering the Marines and serving in World War II, Bertelli was an integral part of Notre Dame's famous T-formation offense. Bertelli's quarterback play lifted the Fighting Irish to a scoring average of more than 40 points in his Heisman-winning season. After his college days, Bertelli served on both Iwo Jima and Guam in the Pacific Ocean.


1945 Felix "Doc" Blanchard, Army

One of the fastest men in college football, Blanchard was a three-time All-American who rushed for 1,908 yards and 38 touchdowns over three years at West Point. He won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship in his junior season before entering into active military service.


1946 Glenn Davis, Army

Davis was a prolific offensive star for his entire Army career, accounting for 59 touchdowns and more than 4,100 yards. His Heisman-winning season was also an undefeated run for Army, which claimed a share of national championship that year. (Notre Dame was No. 1 in the AP poll.) Davis served in Korea until 1950 and then resumed his football career with the Los Angeles Rams, winning two championships.


1947 John Lujack, Notre Dame

After Bertelli left Notre Dame, Lujack stepped in as his successor. He was no less prolific than his predecessor: Lujack's greatest moment came when he led the Fighting Irish to a stunning 26-0 victory over then-unbeaten Army. Lujack led Notre Dame to championships in 1946 and 1947, winning the Heisman in his final season.


1949 Leon Hart, Notre Dame

A captain for the 1949 national championship team, Leon Hart was the second lineman to win a Heisman. He played both sides of the ball and received every major award available in 1949. After Notre Dame, Hart joined the Detroit Lions and helped the franchise to three championships.


1976 Tony Dorsett, Pitt

By the time he left Pittsburgh, Tony Dorsett was one of the greatest running backs in college football history. He set a slew of records for rushing at the time, including his 1,948 rushing yards in his Heisman-winning season. Dorsett dominated Heisman voting, beating the runner-up 701-73 in first-place votes, and Pittsburgh rumbled to the 1976 national championship.


1993 Charlie Ward, Florida State

A two-sport star who ultimately opted for an NBA career, Ward was a tremendous pass-run threat under center for Florida State. He led the Seminoles to the 1993 championship with his slippery footwork in the backfield, which allowed him to extend plays and run upfield for an average of six years per attempt.


1996 Danny Wuerffel, Florida

The strong arm behind Steve Spurrier's Fun 'N Gun offense, Wuerffel threw for 3,625 yards, 39 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions. His incredible pass efficiency mark of 170.61 was a big reason Florida went 11-1 and won the national title.


1997 Charles Woodson, Michigan

Though primarily a defensive back, Woodson also contributed as a wide receiver and return man for the Wolverines. His prowess helped Michigan split the 1997 national championship with Nebraska. After college, Woodson became a respected NFL player and is still playing professional ball.


2004 Matt Leinart, USC (later vacated)

Although scandals later vacated several wins, including the BCS Championship game, Leinart was dominant as a junior quarterback, partnering with running back Reggie Bush to lead USC to an undefeated season. Despite a Heisman Trophy and championship ring, Leinart turned down the NFL to return for his senior season.


2009 Mark Ingram, Alabama

Ingram won one of the closest votes in Heisman history, edging out Stanford's Toby Gerhart by just 28 points. He did so by setting Alabama's single-season rushing record with 1,659 yards, along with 334 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns. Thanks to Ingram's contributions, the Crimson Tide won its first championship under Nick Saban.


2010 Cam Newton, Auburn

A junior-college transfer given the starting QB job at Auburn, Cam Newton didn't disappoint. His dual-threat work as a passer and scorer led Auburn to the national championship game, where it narrowly edged out Oregon. With a Heisman Trophy to boot, Newton bolted for the NFL after the 2010 season.


2013 Jameis Winston, Florida State

In the face of sexual assault accusations, Winston propelled Florida State to a national championship as a redshirt freshman. The conduct accusations didn't abate with a Heisman Trophy and championship ring, however, continuing into the offseason and his sophomore campaign with the Seminoles.

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