Though the NFL world had long expected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to take Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in the NFL draft, the pick isn’t without risks.
Most seriously, he was investigated but never charged after being accused of sexual assault by a fellow student in 2013.
MMQB’s Peter King wrote about the Bucs’ decision to draft Winston. According to King, the Bucs hired a team of private investigators and spoke to more than 75 people during the investigation into Winston’s off-field life.
The Bucs felt the investigation was thorough, and head coach Lovie Smith explained why they still decided to draft him:
“So we had some incidents in college about Jameis to consider. The crab legs, shooting BB guns, standing in the cafeteria and shouting things out. You know, you do stupid things sometimes when you’re 20, 21 years old. You get off track. You say later, ‘I wish I hadn’t done those things.’ But then there was a serious accusation we had to come to grips with. [The accusation that he sexually assaulted a Florida State student, Kinsman.] That was investigated three times. No charges were filed. I understand something happened. But when do you get to the point where you say, ‘We have to let the courts decide, and we abide by their ruling?’ They did not charge Jameis with anything. And at that point, I am going to make the judgment that I am not going to hold this incident against him.”
Erica Kinsman, the former student who accused Winston of rape, is now suing him in civil court.
Smith went on to add, “I’m about second chances in life. You know when you do something at the age of 19 or 20, people tend to want to say about you that that’s who you are. And I don’t think what you do at 19 should dictate what you are, or who you are, for the rest of your life.”
Winston will be under immense pressure to perform up to expectations on and off the field. The Bucs clearly think the investment was worth the risk.
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