Jameis Winston: Latest News, Rumors and Buzz Surrounding QB's Draft Stock

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

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Jameis Winston is one of the most polarizing prospects in the 2015 NFL draft, and many quarterback-needy franchises are examining the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner.

Continue for updates.


Bucs Still Fielding Offers For No. 1 Pick

Thursday, April 30

ESPN's Ed Werder reported one possible reason the Buccaneers haven't publicly stated they will be drafting the Florida State QB:

Bleacher Report's NFL experts broke down and analyzed both Winston and Marcus Mariota: 


NFL Exec: Winston Has Similarities to JaMarcus Russell

Friday, April 24

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel passed along comments from an NFL personnel executive, who compared Winston to former NFL quarterback JaMarcus Russell: 

"Lack of focus by JaMarcus is what I see in Winston," the personnel man said. "They're physically talented, but during the course of a game they kind of lose their focus and just put the ball up for grabs.

"I see the body. I see the lack of focus. I see the same coach and system. Only Winston's not as good an athlete and his arm isn't as strong as JaMarcus'."

Russell was done with football after three seasons, a 7-18 record and a passer rating of 65.2.

"We're looking at another guy (Winston) that's a product of the system and has tremendous athletes around him," another personnel man said. "Oh, my goodness.

"Is this guy really going to be the first pick of the draft? You'd be drafting a quarterback that can't run, has off-field problems, has no power in his legs and makes bad decisions on the field.

"Somebody's going to make a horrible mistake."

 


Buccaneers Did Contact William Meggs

Saturday, April 18

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that, prior to previous news, that the Buccaneers did speak to Meggs about Winston:

During Friday’s Outside the Lines on ESPN, Bob Ley said that William Meggs, the local district attorney in Tallahassee, claimed that he has not been contacted by the NFL or any team.  According to a Buccaneers source, however, that information isn’t accurate.

Per the source, the Buccaneers have spoke to the district attorney’s office as part of an extensive due diligence process in which the team has engaged regarding Winston.

The communication occurred well in advance of Friday’s report, the source explained. 


Winston Sued over Sexual Assault Allegations 

Thursday, April 16

A civil suit has been filed against Winston regarding sexual assault allegations from 2012, according to Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times.

However, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the suit will not affect Tampa Bay's decision to draft him. 


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Potential Jets Visit in Question

Tuesday, April 14

Winston's potential visit with the New York Jets "may not happen," per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He added, "Winston wasn’t able to do it when NYJ proposed, sides having trouble finding a time."

On April 12, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reported that Winston was scheduled to meet with the Jets: 

The former Florida State star, the presumptive No. 1 overall pick, is scheduled to visit the Jets' facility in the coming days, league sources confirmed on Saturday.

There is virtually no chance Winston falls to the Jets, who own the sixth pick, but he's highly regarded within the Jets' organization. Aggressive general manager Mike Maccagnan hasn't ruled out the possibility of trading up, sources said, although it's unclear how high he's willing to go or which player he'd be targeting. The cost to move to No. 1 or No. 2 will be enormous, but there's a sense among teams in the top 10 that the Jets are a threat to move up.

Rapoport reported on Feb. 20 that the Jets, who currently have the sixth overall pick in the draft, were among the teams that met with Winston at the combine.


Bears to Meet with Winston

Tuesday, April 14

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Bears will meet with Winston on Wednesday, meaning that the team will have met with both Winston and Marcus Mariota prior to the draft.


Peter Schrager: 'Winston's the Guy'

Monday, April 13

Fox Sports' Peter Schrager reported the following: "Tune out the Mariota talk; Winston's the guy."

Mark Eckel of NJ Advance Media provided various scouts' opinions on Winston as a prospect:

"The turnovers bother me as much as the off the field stuff.'' ..."If you can get by the off the field stuff, and we can't, he's really good.'' ..."If he doesn't mature, he's not going to be playing in this league. He has the talent to play, but he needs to grow up in a hurry.'' ..."It's not like we would be in line to take him, anyway, but we don't go near guys like him. There's just too much there."


Winston Meets with Titans

Monday, April 13

The Titans announced Winston is meeting with the organization at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Rapoport reported the Titans would meet with Winston on April 13, after the team met with Mariota on April 9.


Winston Reportedly Will Be No. 1 Pick

Friday, April 10

Benjamin Albright of 94.1 FM Radio in Denver reported that the Buccaneers have done their due diligence and will select Winston No. 1 overall.


Winston's Lawyer Says QB 'Not Ready for NFL off the Field' 

Friday, April 10

Jameis Winston's lawyer, David Cornwell, talked about his client's readiness for the NFL on Friday, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Berman passed along more thoughts from Cornwell, who discussed Winston's meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:

Berman also provided some context for Cornwell's remarks:


Miller: Selecting Anyone Other Than Winston Would Be Mistake for Bucs

Thursday, April 9

Bleacher Report NFL draft analyst Matt Miller shared his thoughts on the Bucs' decision at the top of the draft, explaining why selecting anyone other than Winston would be a mistake:

On April 8, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported that the Buccaneers still have concerns about Winston being taken first overall, and that Marcus Mariota remains in play with the top pick:


Winston's Visiting with Buccaneers

Wednesday, April 8

Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com passed along information that Winston was meeting with the team on Wednesday. Winston is also working out for the team as part of the visit, per Smith.


Miller Weighs In on Winston's Pro Player Comparison

Wednesday, April 1

Miller broke down Winston and revealed the Florida State product's NFL counterpart:


NFL, Coaches Still Concerned About Winston Maturity Issues, Mindset

Wednesday, April 1

ESPN's Ed Werder reported that one NFL coach is worried about Winston's mindset, saying, "I hope he becomes a bit more humble.''

On March 31, Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported the league is still concerned about potential maturity issues surrounding Winston: 


Cole: NFL's Background Check on Winston Will Be "Most Thorough' in History

Wednesday, March 25

Cole shared what he was hearing regarding the league's investigation into Winston's past:


Buccaneers' Smith Speaks on Winston

Wednesday, March 25

Lovie Smith spoke on the team's thought process as it pertains to the first selection in the NFL draft and Winston, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:

Smith went on to talk about Winston's past, telling Rapoport, "The things he's done in the past are now OK." Smith also said the team believes Winston wouldn't repeat his mistakes as a member of the Buccaneers.

Smith expanded on that, saying, "We feel comfortable who Jameis Winston is and what he will do in the future," according to Stroud.

The head coach spoke about other possibilities with the top pick, telling Marc Sessler of NFL.com, "The game isn't over."

Smith also went on to praise Marcus Mariota, saying he believes the Oregon quarterback and Winston will have early success in their NFL careers, according to Stroud.

On Feb. 18, Stroud reported that Smith would be "comfortable" making Winston the top pick in the NFL draft.

Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer and Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News added more from Smith:


Simms: Winston a 'Can't-Miss Prospect'

Tuesday, March 24

Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Chris Simms shared his thoughts on Winston's draft stock and NFL outlook in the following video:


Winston Reportedly Doesn't Intend to Attend Draft, for Now

Monday, March 23

Peter King of The MMQB spoke to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the chances of Winston missing the draft:

The second part is he was clear that he wanted to spend time with his family. We’ve had that occur on several occasions over the years.

(...)

I wouldn’t know because I’m not part of those invites, but I’m not concerned with that. I think that it’s something we respect when a player says, “I’d like to be with my family on that day.” It’s an important day for them also.

On March 16, King reported that Winston intended to spend the draft with his family and friends and would not attend in Chicago. 

"I have verified that Jameis Winston told Roger Goodell that he does not plan attending the NFL draft, instead staying home with his family," Jill Martin of CNN.com later added.


Winston Met with Goodell

Wednesday, March 11

King reported that Winston met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on March 5. Winston also met with NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. King's report stated that the meetings lasted for a total of five to six hours. 

King provided more background on the meeting:

Winston was not summoned to see Goodell because of his checkered background off the field. In fact, it was Winston who initiated the meeting back in January.

The backstory: One of Winston’s agents, Greg Genske, told me Tuesday that once Winston declared for the draft he wanted to meet with Goodell, both to tell his own story and to get the lay of the land about his future in the league. Sometime in February, Goodell agreed to meet Winston. That meeting occurred last week. As Genske said, it was more of an informational/educational meeting than anything else—though Winston did get his chance to tell his story to Goodell.

“He went out of his way to make a good impression, and to show that he understood what was going to be expected of him in the NFL,” one league executive who participated in one of the series of meetings said Tuesday night.

Winston, of course, had several off-field issues at Florida State, including being accused but not charged with sexual assault; shoplifting; and yelling out an obscenity in the student union, which cost him a one-game suspension. But the league people I spoke with Tuesday made it clear that Winston made a smart decision in pushing to meet Goodell and establishing a relationship with him.


Winston Suspends Twitter Account

Saturday, March 7

Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Winston has suspended his Twitter account and speculates that the move was to help him focus on preparing for the draft.


Jaworski Reveals He Wouldn't Take Winston No. 1 Overall

Wednesday, March 4

Speaking on the Mike & Mike show, Ron Jaworski weighed in on Winston and admitted he wouldn't draft him first overall, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk: 

I’ve studied a lot of him, I think Jameis Winston has a big upside in the NFL, but there are some real flaws to his game. Quite honestly, I would not take him at that No. 1 pick.

I’m not talking about the off-the-field stuff. I have no comment on that because I’m not privy to that kind of information. But there are certainly mechanical flaws in his game that are troubling to me.


Winston in Tampa Bay to Visit With Buccaneers

Tuesday, March 3

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers confirmed Winston is visiting with the franchise as it tries to decide whether to select him with the first pick in the NFL draft.

Stroud reported that Winston is in town for a one-day visit.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on the details of the visit:

The meetings are largely with Buccaneers ownership, the Glazer family, and the trip is being called billed as "Glazer-centric" by another source. It is to see how comfortable the Buccaneers would be using the No. 1 overall pick on Winston.

What's so unusual about this trip is its timing.

Typically prospects don't begin visiting teams until April. People around the league could not remember a potential No. 1 overall pick visiting the team with the top selection this early in the process.

Stroud also reported that Winston is expected to spend time with some of the team's veteran leaders.


Rapoport, McShay, Simms Weigh in on Winston's Draft Stock

Tuesday, Feb. 24

Rapoport weighed in on the likelihood Winston will be taken with the No. 1 overall pick:

Schefter passed along Todd McShay's evaluation of Winston, saying he's the second-highest quarterback prospect over the last decade, behind only Andrew Luck.


Anonymous Scouts Speak on Winston

Sunday, Feb. 22

Bob McGinn of JSOnline.com provided statements from three anonymous scouts discussing Winston's future:

"Has an uncanny ability to know what's around him and get himself out of trouble," one scout said. ...

... "Someone will take him in the first round, but how could you even let that guy in the building?" another scout said. "The second law of thermodynamics basically is the more ways something can happen, the more likely it is to happen. That's true of players. The more ways they can (expletive) up, the more chances they (expletive) up. This guy's got a lot of stuff that would lean him more likely to be a bust than a good player." ...

... "If he doesn't (mature) he won't be playing football," a third scout said. "Knows how to play the position. I don't think he's Andrew Luck. He's not a John Elway arm coming out, but he's a talented kid."


Winston Reportedly Suffering Weakened Throwing Shoulder

Saturday, Feb. 21

Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that Winston is experiencing weakness in his throwing shoulder and has undergone electromyography to determine the cause. 

However, Breer and Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun reported that his shoulder isn't a big deal:

On Saturday, an anonymous scout contradicted those claims, telling Doug Kyed of NESN.com that the shoulder problem is a "real issue":

Winston’s shoulder is “bad,” according to a scout who is not authorized to speak on the record. The Florida State product’s shoulder won’t be an issue in the short term, but it’s viewed as a long-term problem by this team. The injury was categorized as a “real issue.”

David J. Chao, MD, of the National Football Post indicated the weakness discovered in Winston's shoulder was "minor" and his draft stock shouldn't be affected.


Winston 'Impresses' in Combine Interviews, Throwing Drills

Saturday, Feb. 21

Rapoport reported that Winston has impressed in his interviews with teams at the combine: 

ESPN's Todd McShay noted it was surprising 'how surprised people seem to be re: Jameis Winston's off-the-charts football IQ."

College Football 247 passed along comments from Winston, who said that his interviews with teams weren't "tough at all. I was just being real."

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Winston was 16/16 on his throws, but one was "inside and late on a 12-yard out."

College Football 247 noted Marcus Mariota, who is competing with Winston to be the first quarterback selected, is "throwing (the) deep ball very nicely too."

Former Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik weighed in on both top quarterbacks:

Winston has been taking steps to work at repairing his image. Kent Somers of AZ Central provided a story about Winston from Indianapolis that would indicate the quarterback is taking steps in the right direction:


Winston Reportedly 20.9 Percent Body Fat at Combine

Friday, Feb. 20

Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News reported that Winston's body fat measured to 20.9 percent at the NFL combine.


Webster Says Titans Will Do "Due Diligence" on Winston

Wednesday, Feb. 18

Titans general manager Ruston Webster commented on the team's thoughts on Winston, per Terry McCormick of 247Sports. Webster broke down both Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota, saying Tennessee would do its due diligence on both players.

"I know we'll spend a lot of time with those guys over the next few months," Webster said. "We'll meet with them here and do our due diligence all the way through. They're very good players, and there'd be no reason for us not to. That'll start with meeting with them here at the combine."

In speaking about Winston specifically, Webster added the following:

As it comes for any player, Jameis included, you have to do your due diligence on them, you have to do your research, and you have to know what the reality of the situation is, and don't just go along with the perception. Give the player, I don't want to say the benefit of the doubt, but do your research so you know what the real questions are, the real answers are and give him a fair shake. For us, we've done a lot of work on Jameis, we'll continue to do a lot of work on Jameis, just like these other guys at No. 2 or in the draft in general. It's something where I just don't want to go off perception, I want to know what reality is with him, and we'll give him a fair shake.

Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported earlier Wednesday that Webster plans to meet "extensively" with Winston.


Cole Weighs in on Winston's Draft Stock

Wednesday, Feb. 18

Cole weighed in on what he was hearing regarding Winston's draft positioning:


Conflicting Reports Emerge Regarding Winston's Throwing at Combine

Wednesday, Feb. 18

On Feb. 17, Rapoport reported that Winston plans to throw at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday.

However, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on Feb. 18 that Winston's trainer, quarterback guru George Whitfield, said the signal-caller was "still in decision mode" regarding whether he wanted to throw in Indianapolis. 


QB Coach Whitfield Comments on Winston Ahead of Combine

Tuesday, Feb. 17

Winston's quarterbacks coach, George Whitfield Jr., spoke with SI.com's Peter King about Winston's outlook ahead of the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. The two have been preparing for the combine and have previously worked together. 

Whitfield shared his thoughts on the type of player Winston is:

To me, Jameis is a savant. He’s not an Olympian, not an RG3 [Robert Griffin III] type athlete. He doesn’t have a Matthew Stafford cannon. But some organizations in the NFL are anchored by a singular figure at quarterback. Then there are organizations, more of them, with guys trying to be that singular figure at quarterback. Jameis is the former, and he’s got the great pocket awareness NFL quarterbacks have to have. I have no reservations about him. Teams will do their due diligence, and we will see.

According to King, "Whitfield said he used the three weeks he’s spent with Winston since the college football season ended in getting him healthy (he had a high-ankle sprain late in the season) and in better shape (he’s dropped 12 pounds), and increasing his urgency in the pocket and in his motion."


Mike Mayock Comments on Winston

Thursday, Feb. 12

NFL Network's Mike Mayock shared his thoughts on Winston and compared him to another high-profile quarterback, via NFL Media PR.

"I don’t like all of the interceptions he throws; he reminds me a little bit of a Jay Cutler coming out of Vanderbilt," Mayock said. "He has no conscience whatsoever; he’ll let it rip but has the physical skill set to play and succeed in the NFL."  


Bucs Reportedly Prefer Winston to Mariota

Wednesday, Feb. 11

A lengthy scouting process takes place before the 2015 NFL draft commences, but early indications suggest the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are leaning toward selecting Winston with the first overall pick.

According to ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas, the Bucs currently prefer Winston over Oregon's Marcus Mariota for a few reasons. Most notably, head coach Lovie Smith is partial to the FSU product due largely to the fact that he ran a pro-style offense in college.

Yasinskas is also reporting that Smith may have hired Dirk Koetter over Marc Trestman as his offensive coordinator because Trestman is a bigger fan of Mariota than Winston.

Both Winston and Mariota were hugely successful at the college level and each took home a Heisman Trophy. Perhaps the greatest concern between them is Winston's off-field track record.

Per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, though, Winston does seem to be the favorite as long as the Buccaneers front office is comfortable with him from a character standpoint:

One person who wouldn't take that chance on Winston is former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, according to Stroud :

Dominik is no longer the man in charge in Tampa, however, which makes the possibility of Winston's going off the board first seem very real.

A lot could obviously change in the coming months, especially after the Buccaneers get an opportunity to sit down and talk to both quarterbacks, but it appears as though Winston is very much in the driver's seat.

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