The buzz around Jameis Winston’s performance at the NFL Scouting Combine last weekend continues to reverberate.
Winston, who came to Indianapolis needing to impress NFL front office personnel, not only seemed to accomplish that, but also saw his reputation rise among a number of Bucs fans who were opposed to Winston or at the very least, on the fence on whether the Bucs should draft him.
Throughout the weekend, numerous reports came out of unnamed team executives who saw their opinions change after seeing the former FSU Heisman winner up close and personal. Si.com’s Peter King wrote about the perception of Winston among those in attendance on Indy. And on Monday, NFL.com media columnist Michael Silver wrote about the same thing.
“The kid is great on the (grease) board, and he can sling the hell out the ball,” said one general manager who has drafted a quarterback first overall. “I don’t see how they can not take him.”
“In other words, the smart money is on Winston shaking Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand before fellow Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota – or anyone else – and in this case, that term works on more than one level.
“As one veteran scout said of Winston while sitting in the Lucas Oil Stadium stands Sunday afternoon, “Everyone here is saying he’s really, really smart – and if you’ve been down (to Tallahassee), you’re not surprised. They love the kid. They talk about how sharp he is. He loves to compete. And he’s ready to attack this thing.”
Another interesting note from Silver’s column was how Winston is helping to break a stereotype. Silver wrote, “There might still be Neanderthals among us who stigmatize African-American quarterbacks as athletic specimens who lack intelligence, leadership and the skills necessary to thrive in a traditional, “pro-style” offense, but they would be laughed out of Indy’s finest establishments by people who actually evaluate these players for a living.
“If you must compare Winston to an African-American quarterback, try this one on for size: “He reminds me of Steve McNair,” said one AFC team executive. “He wasn’t an articulate guy when he came out of Alcorn State, but he had an extremely high football IQ. He was a better athlete, but he didn’t have the outward confidence that Winston has. And this guy is way more pro-ready than Steve was.”
With the draft still 65 days away, much can still change. The Buccaneers will continue to do their homework. Winston could still find an opportunity to screw things up by doing something immature between now and April 30. But barring any new skeleton found in Winston’s closet, or hiccup maturity-wise, it appears more and more likely Winston will be the pick by the Buccaneers on draft night.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com