The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought Jameis Winston to their facilities for two days of meetings this week, nearly two months before the draft.
To meet with a top prospect is not unusual. But to do it this early in the process and with so much pomp and circumstance has some feeling the team has already made the decision to make Winston the top pick in the draft.
On ESPN’s “NFL Insiders,” former NFL general manager Mark Dominik says the meeting only makes sense if Winston is the guy the Bucs want. Dominik said Winston would be spending a lot of time with the owners alone, calling it a “Glazer-centric visit” in reference to the Glazer family, owners of the Buccaneers.
This suggests that that the front office has made their decision and that now it is just a matter of making sure the owners are comfortable with the player.
“I think that (Bucs head coach) Lovie Smith and (general manager) Jason Licht have their number one guy on their board and that’s Jameis Winston,” Dominik said. “That’s the only reason I can think why you would bring him in this early because the owners are very curious about who he is off the field. Him becoming the face of the franchise is what they are concerned about and what they want to make sure they are really comfortable with.”
Dominik went on to explain that the only reason a meeting would be held this early is that the Bucs are ready to put this decision behind them and move on to preparing for the rest of the draft.
Based on the description by the folks at JoeBucsFan.com, the visit sounded more like a public introduction than a get-to-know-you meeting.
“Is the pick Winston’s to lose? It sure looks that way,” wrote JoeBucsFan.com. “When is the last time a team brought in a prospective pick this early and not just had photos, but pumped out releases and updates commensurate with the arrival of a new head coach?”
Of course, there is still a lot of time before the draft and both Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota could change the Bucs’ collective mind. But at this point, it sounds like the Bucs are ready to start selling Jameis Winston jerseys.
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