Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston may be the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but he continues to hurt his 2015 NFL draft stock with his actions off the field.
A strong 2013 season in which Winston threw for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions while leading the Seminoles to a national championship was under enough scrutiny during when the QB was accused of allegedly raping a woman in December of 2012. Now, Winston finds himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons once again.
According to ESPN.com, Winston was issued a civil citation at the end of April for walking out of a supermarket without paying for crab legs and crawfish worth $32. As a result, Winston was suspended indefinitely from the baseball team. The closer was reinstated to the team a few days later.
Now, Winston is receiving even more attention for the latest comments from his father, Antonor Winston, who thinks that someone should be with his son at all times to keep him out of trouble.
"He's supposed to have somebody around him 24/7," Antonor Winston told Rachel Axon of USA Today. "He a Heisman Trophy winner so (he's) definitely not supposed to be by (himself)."
With so much negative attention surrounding Winston right now, he is hurting his draft stock significantly.
Bleacher Report's own Mike Freeman talked to a number of NFL personnel about Winston after the shoplifting incident, and they had some choice words on the FSU quarterback:
This from an NFL scout: "When I heard about this, I was stunned. He was the top overall pick next year. Was. Not anymore. This latest thing shows a continuation of bad judgment. I don't trust him, and I can tell you very few teams in the NFL will trust him."
This from a front-office executive: "He's on his way to falling out of the first round."
This from another scout: "We're talent whores. But we're not total whores. It's almost impossible, at this point, to trust Winston."
There isn't a position in professional sports that's under more scrutiny than the NFL quarterback, and franchises expect their starting QBs to represent their teams in a positive light. While Winston displayed the skills on the field to be an NFL-caliber quarterback, his actions off the field may keep a number of teams from drafting him if he decides to declare for the 2015 NFL draft.
While this has been a rough offseason for Winston, that doesn't mean that there's no way he can recover from it. If Winston can stay out of trouble for the next year and prove that he can be a leader both on and off the field, he could recover and still be a first-round pick.
This isn't the first time a college quarterback has had troubles during the offseason. Johnny Manziel went through much of the same scrutiny after winning the Heisman due to frequent pictures of him partying, hanging with celebrities and even an NCAA investigation involving signed sports memorabilia. The issue was eventually dropped, but led to Manziel being suspended for half of a game.
Once the season began, however, Manziel let his play do that talking. The pictures of Manziel partying with celebrities stopped and he did his best to avoid controversy, even though the media was constantly watching him. Still, it seemed to pay off for Manziel, as he was able to prove to NFL teams that he had matured and was still drafted in the first round this past weekend by the Cleveland Browns.
If Winston is able to follow a path similar to Manziel's and avoid getting in trouble or shedding a negative light on his image, he may be able to survive these latest incidents and be a first-round pick.
As of right now, Winston's draft stock has taken a pretty big hit.
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