After months of rumors and speculation, Jameis Winston is finally a Tampa Bay Buc. Tampa obviously is a believer in the upside, but with the off the field issues, and with his apparent IDGAF attitude, is he the right fit, or will he bust?
On the Field
On the field there is little question that Winston can be an amazing starting quarterback in the NFL for years to come, and a great fit in Tampa. The offense he ran at FSU will be a nice transition into the NFL, and after throwing for nearly 4000 yards in his senior season, Winston has shown that his arm is NFL ready.
However one issue that came up in his senior season (other than all of the off field issues) was his turnovers. Winston threw 18 interceptions in his senior season to go along with 25 touchdowns. If he threw that many TDs to INTs in his rookie season in the NFL, I don’t think many people will be worried. However as we all know, college numbers rarely transfer into NFL numbers.
But can Winston turn in a similar season to many good rookie quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and others? The answer likely won’t come until that first game against Marcus Mariota, but Winston will have to keep his turnovers at bay.
Robert Griffin III threw for 3200 passing yards in his rookie season, with 20 passing touchdowns, seven rushing touchdowns, and only five interceptions. As those who place NFL picks know that may have been a fluke when it comes to RG3, but if Winston has that kind of success in the NFL early on, the hype train will be at full speed. However of he struggles early on, and throws more picks than TDs, his leash for his off the field antics will be MUCH shorter.
Off the Field
“Character issues,” is the politically correct way to label guys like Winston, however NFL scouts throw this term around a lot. They threw it around when Shane Ray got caught with some marijuana the night before the draft, but to lump Ray, who was probably just toking up for one final time to Winston is an insult to Ray.
Winston has a record of off the field transgressions that have involved the police, and have involved serious allegations. We laugh about the crab legs and the possible NCAA infractions with benefits, but this guy has been accused of sexual assault. As we’ve seen with the NFL recently with Greg Hardy, the league’s image is dependent on coming down harder on players who are convicted of sexual assault and domestic abuse. While Winston was never convicted and criminal charges were never filed, he is still facing a civil suit from his accuser, and the claims in the suit are pretty damning. If I were him, I would be keeping as low of a profile as possible, not chowing down on crab legs in a Bucs uniform to troll everyone. NFL odds makers realize this guy is one big screw up away from being one of, if not the biggest QB bust since JaMarcus Russell, and while I’m not comparing the two yet, it would be a shame for the NFL, the Bucs and the city of Tampa if this guy turns out to be just another NFL knucklehead. We shall see, Tampa.