The consensus is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take Jameis Winston with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft after an excellent performance at the NFL combine, SI’s Peter King reports.
The combine is a pre-draft camp where prospects do drills in front of NFL scouts and conduct interviews with teams.
Winston is not a very good raw athlete. He was never going to run fast or jump high at the combine. But he excelled in two areas that matter: the interviews and the throwing session.
King reports that 80% of the NFL people he talked to over the weekend think Winston is going No. 1.
According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, teams were blown away by him in interviews.
An NFL exec told Freeman, “I think he’s probably the smartest player I’ve ever interviewed.”
Another exec told King, “He killed it with us. You don’t have much time with him, and he was able to dissect a few plays pretty precisely. You heard a lot about his football IQ going in, and he didn’t disappoint.”
His on-the-field performance is getting positive reviews as well. Winston is relatively slow and has small hands, but scouts and commentators came away from his Saturday throwing session raving about his skill as a passer.
CBS’s Rob Rang said the Winston-Marcus Mariota passing display was the best he has seen from a QB duo in nearly a decade:
I’ve been one of the fortunate few members of the media allowed into the quarterback workouts each year since 2007, when the NFL first opened its doors to anyone other than league personnel. At no point during that time has the two top quarterbacks each fared as well under the bright lights as Winston and Mariota did today.
ESPN’s Todd McShay had this to say about Winston as a quarterback:
He is just a natural thrower of the football. His delivery was a minor area of concern, but for the most part he showcased an efficient delivery in passing drills on Saturday. He is almost always on balance, and even when he isn’t, the ball is still delivered on point. He showed excellent touch on deep balls and over-the-shoulder throws.
The NFL Network’s draft expert Mike Mayock said, “The thing that I like about Jameis Winston is I think he throws an extremely catchable ball. He’s got all the arm strength you want, but he makes it easy for the receiver based on the route. Naturally and innately, he gets it.”
None of this changes the biggest reason Winston could fall in the draft: his off-field problems. As a freshman at Florida State he was investigated for sexual assault, but never charged. The next summer he was caught stealing crab legs from a grocery store. During his final season, he was suspended for standing on a table and yelling, “F*** her right in the p****.”
He aced the combined, which matters, but there’s still a long way to go until draft night.
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