Jameis Winston was the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but as he enters year five in the league one expert didn’t give him a lot of credit so far.
This coming April 30th, a special anniversary will take place for the FSU football program as history was made four years ago on that date – as Jameis Winston became the first, and still the only, former Seminole to be taken first overall in the annual selection meeting of the National Football League more commonly called the NFL Draft.
Since then, it has been an up and down struggle for Winston during his four season career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – after starting every game his first two season and putting up impressive numbers, he has missed games each of the last two seasons due to injuries and suspensions that have some questioning whether he was the right person taken first overall.
During a recent list by NFL.com ranking the No. 1 picks in the 52 drafts since the NFL and what was then the American Football League merge their drafts before the 1967 seasons ahead of the eventual merger before the 1970 season, Winston was rated 35th overall – with the negatives highlighted along with some hope for a positive future.
Off-the-field problems have existed going back to his college days. Those issues…have made it difficult to put Winston’s career in context. Have the Buccaneers failed because Winston lacks support or has his play failed to elevate that of his teammates? If a rising tide lifts all boats, Winston’s product under Bruce Arians could be raising a young nucleus.
Now, there are some in the FSU football family who will always be apologist for Jameis Winston both on and off the field – and in the interest of full disclosure, I have been one of those people at times – but there is no doubt that Winston sometimes puts himself in situations where his positives don’t get the proper attention because of the extent of the negatives.
Speaking just about the on-field work, I find it hard to believe that someone who in just four seasons has thrown for over 14,600 yards and nearly 90 touchdowns is someone who has not been one of the better picks in recent history – especially considering the fact he has been doing it for some bad teams in Tampa Bay.
It’s especially frustrating when you consider the fact that Jared Goff, who was drafted the following season by the Los Angeles Rams number one overall, was ranked two spots higher on the list in part because he has played on a playoff team the last two seasons. Put Jameis Winston on the Rams with that staff and weapons around him and see the insane numbers he would produce.
The fact of the matter is that Jameis Winston will never get the credit he deserves for the on field work in major part due to the severity of accusations and incidents he has dealt with off the field. Winston could lead the Bucs to three straight Super Bowl titles and he will still be considered a villain in the eyes of some, which is something he is going to have to live with.
Hopefully, if he continues to put up the power numbers and Tampa Bay can actually win more than five games in a season, his spot on the list will skyrocket over guys like Vinny Testaverde, Irving Fryar and others who seemingly got credit for career length – not the actual product on the field.