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Scouting The Draft: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

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We continue our look at the QB class with the talented Florida State product

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

I will openly admit that I've found it very difficult to evaluate Jameis Winston. My final opinion of him has ranged from budding superstar to a likely bust. From thinking he has everything to become a complete package, to thinking the deficiencies in his game will cripple him at the NFL level. I also appreciate that opinions on Winston vary significantly and no other figure polarized fan opinion quite as much. I know he has his fans and I know he has his detractors and I'm probably somewhere in the middle.

Winston has some growing up to do, that much is beyond any doubt. From a sexual assault allegation to a shoplifting incident, Winston has found it difficult to stay out of the news for the wrong reasons. He was suspended for a game this year for a vulgar incident at the student union and he's been caught up in an autograph situation. All in all, the questions about whether he is mature enough to handle the money that comes with his fame are valid ones, and he'll be grilled substantially at the combine about his off-field problems. Some teams will remove him completely from their boards, some will give him a lower grade and for some it won't matter all that much.

I will just say right now, I think Winston is drafted #1 overall, meaning the Jets don't have a shot. However stranger things have happened in the NFL draft. He's not the best player in this draft, but with the value placed on a QB and Tampa Bay needing a signal caller, I doubt he falls into our laps at #6.

The former Heisman winner burst onto the scenes last year, leading Florida State to a come-from-behind win against the Auburn Tigers. Winston has made a name for himself by starting slow but finishing strong, showing a great deal of on-field leadership and the ability to really pluck victory from defeat. His unbeaten streak was ended this year when an underwhelming performance resulted in Florida State loosing to the Oregon Ducks.

There were some rumours that Winston would head back to school in 2015 due to his desire to play baseball. 2015 represents the first time since 2009 that the number of underclassman entering the draft declined on the previous year. However earlier this month it was confirmed that Winston would forego his remaining years of eligibility to turn professional.

If  Winston can grow up, the world is his oyster, however that's a pretty big if.

Measurables

Height: 6'4

Weight: 230lb's

Class: Sophomore

Projected 40: 4.65

Statistics

Years Attempted Completed Completion % Yards TD's INT's
2014 467 305 65.3% 3907 25 18
2013 384 257 66.9% 4057 40 10
Year Rushes Yards TD's
2014 57 65 3
2013 88 219 4

Positives

  • I've never seen a better field general in the college ranks, his leadership is off the charts.
  • He has good size, good bulk and decent enough speed.
  • He has a very strong arm, the ability to make all the NFL throws with zip and velocity
  • Moves very well inside the pocket, slides and climbs with ease and shows good ability to extend plays.
  • Has worked in a pro-style offense taking snaps under centre.
  • Shows good vision, sees the whole field and works through progressions.
  • Has a real toughness to him, stands firm in the pocket under pressure, delivering the football.
  • Has a good internal clock that allows him to get rid of the football when he needs to.
  • Has excellent timings and trust in his wide receivers, releasing the football as receivers are breaking.
  • Shows a good touch on his intermediate and deep routes.
  • Clutch performer, often makes his best throws when the game is on the line.
  • Doesn't key in on one receiver, already has the ability to freeze secondaries with his eyes.
  • Has good mobility to extend plays and shows a comfort level throwing on the run.
  • Takes what the defense gives him, uses his hot reads and check downs efficiently.
  • Very comfortable calling audibles at the line when noticing what defenses are giving him
  • A very committed and tough runner who's very difficult to bring down.

Negatives

  • Extremely immature individual, who has a lot of growing up to do off the field.
  • Several off-field transgressions that need to be cleaned up.
  • Makes some poor decisions, challenging coverages when a safer throw is there.
  • Took a step back in his 2nd year throwing a lot more interceptions.
  • Struggles to read defensive lineman dropping back into zone coverage.
  • Will often get picked off on his underneath routes, makes poor decisions.
  • Has a tendency to not get going until the 3rd quarter, more costly in the NFL.
  • Would like his delivery to be less of a wind-up motion, not a major problem though.

Conclusion


I've watched perhaps 17-18 of Winston's college games along with a number of tapes from high school and it's obvious that he is a tremendous athlete, a natural leader and competitor and if he can get his head right, he'll be a franchise quarterback at the next level. If the Jets were selecting, I don't think I'd hesitate to draft Winston. After extensive study, he really does have a good chance of coming in, starting immediately and doing well. His vision and timing with his throws make him extremely difficult to defend against.

However he is not the complete prospect some would like you to believe. He still makes poor decisions, he still struggles when dealing with an unconventional defense, lineman dropping into zone, linebackers cutting underneath, stunting defensive lineman. He's going to see a lot of that in the NFL and he'll need to get better at handling that. He needs to mature quickly and I would be worried about handing this man a significant cheque. Any team that drafts him will need to surround him with good coaches and even better people.

Winston could bust. That's a very real possibility. However If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on him becoming elite over busting. I really don't think we'll get a shot at him and he's not a sure-fire selection, so I doubt we have to worry about Jameis Winston, apart from when we're playing the Bucs.

Draft Grade: 92

90-100 = Exceptional Talent

80-90 = Impact Player

70-80 = NFL Starter

60-70 = Solid NFL Potential

50-60 = Draftable - Lot of work needed

>50 = Undraftable, - Long Shot To Stick