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SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:

FAB 1. THE DAY WINSTON’S CHARACTER CHANGED
By most accounts, the day Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston did his last publicly known stupid thing was on September 16, 2014 when he stood on a table in the student union and shouted out a profane statement – that is derogatory towards women – made famous from an Internet meme.

Winston had done other stupid stuff before. Aside from the very serious alleged sexual assault for which he was investigated and no charges were ultimately filed, there was not paying for a soda at Burger King, his alleged participation in on-campus BB gun fight with other Seminoles players and stealing crab legs from a Tallahassee Publix grocery store.

In all of those instances Winston was relatively unpunished aside from public embarrassment. Of course the sexual assault allegations defamed his character, caused a great deal of stress and made him Public Enemy No. 1 in college football outside of the Florida State program. But shouting a profanity on-campus was the final straw for head coach Jimbo Fisher and the athletic department and Winston was suspended for the first half of the Clemson game, and then it was changed to the entire game before kickoff.

Winston didn’t show the best judgment by coming out for pre-game warm-ups fully dressed in his uniform, shoulder pads and helmet despite being told he was suspended for the game. Winston meant no harm and the Seminoles’ undisputed leader desperately wanted to warm-up with his teammates, but head coach Jimbo Fisher scolded him and sent him to the locker room to change into street clothes.

September 20, 2014 is the day Winston changed. That was the day that football was taken away from him. Without Winston in the lineup, top-ranked Florida State struggled mightily against No. 22 Clemson with backup quarterback Sean Maguire at the helm. The Tigers took a 10-3 lead into halftime at Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium before the Seminoles rallied to tie the game and send it to overtime where they would win 23-17.

For the first time in Winston’s football career he was relegated to the role of cheerleader, he was helpless. He was a leader unable to lead his troops.

Suddenly, life without football, which is something Winston had done since elementary school, was real. And it hurt.

“I changed after the Clemson game drastically because that’s the first time I’ve been told that I can’t Clemson v Florida Stateplay,” Winston said. “When you see your teammates on that battlefield, and you’re told, ‘No dog, you can’t play.’ That hurt me. I’m a fun-loving guy, but all that stuff is behind me. After that Clemson game, when you love the game so much and you have a passion for the game and you see your brothers out there and when they won that game … if they would have lost that game everybody would have been talking about ‘Jameis wasn’t playing.’”

In 2013 as a redshirt freshman, the Clemson game served as Winston’s coming out party on a national stage. A year later, Winston’s actions landed him on the sideline rather than in the huddle and the Seminoles nearly paid dearly for it.

“When I see my brothers fighting for me – because I was still playing in that game (from the sidelines) – motivating them and being there for them, I knew I had to be there all the time. I don’t need to be the center of attention.”

On September 20, 2014 Winston grew up. There hasn’t been a single incident since. Only time will tell if he truly learned his lesson and matured.

Despite his use of slang and broken English, Winston is very intelligent. He was an honor student in high school and turned down a scholarship at Stanford to play at Florida State. Amidst all the turmoil during his redshirt season Winston was wise enough to hire a public relations manager to help him learn how to deal with living in the national spotlight at the age of 20.

“I hired a speaking coach, Coach Shimbaugh, who said, ‘Jameis, don’t add sugar to sugar,’” Winston said on NFL Network. “I already have charisma. I can already talk, and I’m the guy everybody wants to be around. Don’t add sugar to sugar. I don’t have to be in the spotlight. I think that helped me grow as an individual and as a grown man.”

Winston realized that he’s already the center of attention whether he likes it or not and he doesn’t have to do anything special or try to be funny to seek the spotlight.

“I haven’t changed, but I’ve grown,” Winston said. “I’ve grown into the role of being a quarterback, and not just one of the guys. As a quarterback you have to carry yourself in a certain way. You can be one of the guys when the cameras aren’t around. One thing my dad always taught me was character is what you’re doing when no one is looking.”

The fact that the star quarterback hasn’t had a negative off-field incident in the past six months bodes well for Winston and the Buccaneers and has the young playmaker and Tampa Bay on a collision course to join forces on April 30. When asked if he’s gotten any indication from the Bucs that the team will make him the first overall pick, Winston said no.

“No indication,” Winston said. “Actions can speak so loud that you can’t hear what other people say. I’ve been trying to do my thing on the field. Right now I can’t convince somebody that I’m different, but what I can do is move forward, put things behind me and get better every day.”

FAB 2. WINSTON’S INTERCEPTION TOTAL FROM 2014 WILL HELP HIM GROW
It’s no secret that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has some well-documented off-field character concerns. The redshirt sophomore has some on-field concerns, too.

Winston threw a freshman-record 40 touchdowns in 2013 with just 10 interceptions while leading the Seminoles to a national title and winning the Heisman Trophy. But in 2014, Winston’s touchdowns dropped to 25 and his interceptions nearly doubled as he threw 18.

“I keep going back to the point that he throws too many interceptions, and ball security is the most important thing to me for a quarterback,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “Off the field, do you trust him or not? There’s still some homework to do on that.”

I’m told that the Bucs have gone over all of his 18 interceptions from last year and attribute some of them to Winston being rushed due to inconsistent offensive line play, especially in the first half of the season as the Seminoles clearly missed center Byron Stork, who was drafted by New England in the fourth round last year, until Cameron Erving was moved to center from left tackle mid-season.

Throw in the fact that Winston’s go-to receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, the player who caught his game-winning touchdown with seconds left in the BCS Championship Game against Auburn, was drafted in the first round last year by Carolina also played a part in Winston’s higher interception totals, according to the Bucs. Playing across from senior Rashad Greene were three untested players in sophomores Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson and freshman Travis Rudolph. A few wrong routes and a few dropped passes turned into inflated interception totals for Winston by Tampa Bay’s estimation.

“Going into the season I had the wrong mindset and that was to try to do too much,” Winston said. “At Alabama they have perfect game managers. As a quarterback you can’t put everybody on your back and say, ‘I’m going to do this.’ This is a situational game and you might get different types of situations. I tried to force things and make plays when I shouldn’t have.

“But in big-time moments, habits come up to the surface. When I’m feeling pressure or my back is to the wall, I feel like I need to rise to the occasion because we’re already down. I do bigger things when I’m down, but I can never try to be bigger than the game.”

The fact that Florida State’s running game wasn’t as potent without Devonta Freeman and James Wilder, who left for the NFL, until Karlos Williams and freshman Dalvin Cook came around at the end of the year hasn’t gotten lost in the Bucs’ evaluation, either. That put more pressure on Winston to make plays in the passing game, especially in the first half of games.

Thirteen of Winston’s 18 interceptions came in the first half of games, including multiple picks against Louisville and Florida in the first 30 minutes that helped dig the Seminoles in a hole. Winston threw two interceptions in the first half of against the Cardinals and three in the first half versus the Gators.

“It was just in the first and second quarter,” Winston said. “In the first and second quarter I tried to do too much. When you are a quarterback and you try to do too much and you don’t let those great guys around you help you, that’s when you make mistakes. I believe I did that [better] my first year playing because I had great guys around me. I let those guys make the plays. There is a time and a place when I need to step up.”

Florida State v ClemsonLooking back on his 26-1 record at Florida State, Winston is grateful for all of the pressure and the trials and tribulations he had to go through – even the interceptions – as he will be a better pro because of the adversity he went through.

“Everything happens for a reason and I believe that whole season helped me prepare for the next level in a way that I’ve been thrown in the fire,” Winston said. “People would say, ‘It’s a sophomore slump’ and people were waiting, just waiting for us to lose a game. But I’m a competitor and that’s what I love to do. I know I am able to lead guys to a win.”

With just 14 interceptions in his three-year career as Oregon’s starter, I wonder how Marcus Mariota will fare when he throws 14 interceptions in one season in the NFL? Winston has already had a supposedly “bad season” in terms of interceptions yet was able to go overcome them and finish with a 13-1 record last year.

If he is indeed drafted by the Buccaneers don’t be surprised when Winston throws a sizable number of interceptions during his initial season in Tampa Bay. It happens to most rookies. Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles threw 17 picks last year with only 11 touchdowns. Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater barely threw more TDs than interceptions in 2014 with 14 scores and 12 picks. Only Oakland’s Derek Carr had a respectable TD:INT ratio with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

When he sat down to go over some film with former NFL coach Steve Mariucci for the NFL Network “Game Changers” show, Winston watched his reaction after throwing an interception at Clemson during his redshirt freshman season. Maruicci said, “What do you call that?”

“That’s a hissy fit,” Winston said.

“That is a hissy fit,” Mariucci said. “Keep your poise. That’s where you gain respect. Everybody knows you made a mistake, but you show that you can handle it. You can bounce back. You’re mentally right.”

Even that film session with Mariucci will serve Winston well in the NFL as it is sage advice from a respected offensive mind that had success in the pros.

“When I step on the field for my first game I’m going to be shocked,” Winston said. “It’s going to be a surreal experience for me. I’m going to have some butterflies. I’m not going to lie. But I’m going to be ready. I’m going to be ready for whatever.”

Bucs fans better be ready for some interceptions from Winston because they’ll be coming – along with the winning. That was Winston’s rap at Florida State.

FAB 3. A CLOSER LOOK AT WINSTON’S ALARMING INTERCEPTION RATE
While the Bucs’ brass is offering reasoning – or excuses – for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston’s high amount of interceptions last year (18), a sheer examination of the stats regardless of how or why the picks happened is worth a look. I had a conversation with PewterReport.com president Hugh MacArthur, who dabbles in analytics, about Winston’s alarming number of picks last season, which was the second-highest total in all of college football, and this is what he concluded.

The worry isn’t the number of picks. Rather, it’s the interceptions as a percentage of pass attempts.

During Winston’s redshirt freshman season at Florida State in 2013 he threw 10 interceptions in 384 attempts, which is a 2.6 percent interception rate. This number would have been about average for a starting NFL quarterback in 2014.

Some notable quarterbacks having INT percentages in that range included New Orleans’ Drew Brees (2.6 percent), Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (2.6 percent) and Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning (2.5 percent). That’s some pretty good company, especially because Winston compares himself to Luck and Manning.

Winston’s second season with the Seminoles tells quite a different story. Winston threw 18 interceptions, which was eight more than the previous year. He also threw 467 passes in 2014, which was 83 more passes than he did in the prior season.

Yet throwing 18 interceptions in 467 attempts is a 3.8 percent INT rate. To put that figure into context, only two NFL starting quarterbacks had a rate higher than that last season. One of them you know quite well, as Tampa Bay’s Josh McCown clocked in at 4.3 percent with 14 picks in 327 attempts, and then Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who was at 4.4 percent with nine picks in 204 passes.

That’s right. Every other NFL starter with a meaningful number of attempts was under Winston’s 3.8 percent number. Even Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blake Bortles had a 3.6 INT rate after throwing 17 picks in 475 pass attempts. The Bucs are shrugging off Winston’s number of picks, but that’s why NFL Network’s Mike Mayock is concerned about the amount of interceptions he throws.

What does a great interception rate look like? Well, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, last year’s NFL MVP, had a one percent INT rate that was pretty spectacular, as was New England’s Tom Brady and Seattle’s Russell Wilson’s 1.5 percent rate. Rodgers also set a Packers and NFL record for not throwing an interception in a home game last year.

Throwing for a low or reasonable amount of interceptions per attempt alone will not make you great. Heck, Buffalo’s Kyle Orton threw for 2.2 percent INT rate in 447 attempts.

However, the data shows that throwing nearly four percent of your pass attempts to the other jersey is extremely rare, and that’s why teams like the Bucs, Redskins and Jaguars had atrocious records as a result. This is why the answer to the question “Why did Winston throw so many picks per attempt in 2014?” is a very important one.

Those defending Winston’s high amount of interceptions argue that Matt Ryan threw a lot of Florida State v Clemsoninterceptions at Boston College during his senior year (19), but he threw 654 passes that year and has been a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in the NFL after being the third overall pick in 2008. Ryan’s interception rate at BC during his senior campaign was a respectable 2.9 percent to put his 19 picks into perspective.

Ryan’s rate in the NFL has been between 2.2 – 2.6 percent during his entire NFL career. Yes, Ryan has thrown plenty of picks, but also plenty of big completions in a downfield passing attack that has featured his arm.

If Tampa Bay drafts Winston and pair him with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who spent the last three seasons with Ryan in Atlanta, the Bucs coaches will need to get the talented Seminoles star back down to a more reasonable interception rate as he had as a redshirt freshman (2.6 percent) and prove that the number of interceptions he threw during his second year at Florida State was a fluke.

With Koetter running the offense in Tampa Bay, the Bucs will deploy a vertical passing game and sling the ball around quite a bit. The fewest number of passes Ryan has thrown in Atlanta over the past three years is 615.

It’s foolish to have a rookie quarterback throw that many passes, but if Tampa Bay drafts Winston, having him throw 450 passes in Koetter’s offense wouldn’t be unreasonable given the fact that the Bucs’ best offensive weapons are 6-foot-5 receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

Following his pro day at Florida State, Winston was asked by ESPN’s Sal Palontonio how he would fit in to a downfield passing game like the one Koetter likes to operate.

“That’s what we did at Florida State,” Winston said. “I think over the past two years we had the most explosive plays probably in the history of college football. That’s one thing we do. We like to attack vertically and make big plays.”

Winston just has to avoid the big number of interceptions in doing so.

FAB 4. THE PERSONAL DRAMA SURROUNDING THE DRAFT HAS ALWAYS INTRIGUED ME
To celebrate my 20 years of covering the Buccaneers I’m going to share with you some of the behind-the-scenes encounters I’ve had over the last two decades. These stories will appear in the first 20 SR’s Fab 5 columns of 2015, which encompasses much of the offseason.

Because of my love for college football I’ve always had a fondness for the NFL Draft dating back to age 10. I’ve always been curious where my favorite college players would wind up, and I remember in 1997 I latched on to the Cincinnati Bengals because they had two of my favorite linebackers, Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons, and had just drafted Washington running back Corey Dillon, a player I wished the Bucs had drafted instead of Warrick Dunn at the time.

Because I was born on April 23, the NFL Draft typically fell on my birthday or around it. When I was 16 my birthday fell on a Saturday, which was the first day of the draft that year. My girlfriend, who didn’t happen to like football, was so excited to spend the day with me and came over that morning to see what I wanted to do.

You should have seen the look of disappointment when I said all I really wanted to go in the basement and sit on the couch for about 12 hours and watch draft coverage ESPN and ESPN2. That look of disappointment turned to anger when she suggested we celebrate my birthday on Sunday instead and I told her that Sunday was Day 2 of the draft and that I wanted to continue to hunker down and watch the conclusion of the draft.

In case you are curious, she did forgive me and we continued to date for two more years.

In my 20 years of covering the Buccaneers I’ve had three prevailing thoughts regarding the draft. The first is that hope springs eternal in the offseason for NFL fans, especially those of downtrodden teams. The player that could help turnaround the franchise – or at least make the team better and more tolerable to watch – could be on the way in the first or second round.

It’s no secret that the teams that draft well usually win and compete for the Super Bowl every year. Franchises like New England, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Green Bay and Indianapolis have fielded perennial playoff teams due to their success in the draft.

The second enticing element of the draft is the sheer drama and surprise that unfurls on live TV. It’s Edgerrin James getting selected ahead of Ricky Williams, and then Mike Ditka and the New Orleans Saints trading every draft pick to move up and get Williams. Unfortunately, it’s the Bucs artfully trading down in 2012, but bypassing middle linebacker Luke Kuechly and drafting safety Mark Barron instead to the shock of thousands of Tampa Bay fans.

It’s Buffalo mortgaging the future to draft wide receiver Sammy Watkins last year. It’s Jacksonville surprising everyone and drafting Blake Bortles with the third overall pick. It’s seeing how far controversial quarterback Johnny Manziel slides in the first round, and if Tampa Bay or Dallas will end his free fall.

The third thing I find so exciting about the draft is the human element. Imagine being a top college player the night before the draft and all of the feelings associated with that. The excitement of fulfilling your childhood dream is about to come true. You could wake up the next morning and suddenly become a millionaire. How could you possibly sleep?

You are also about to not only be drafted by team, but by a city. If you grew up in Florida and never seen snow before and get drafted by Minnesota, you’ll be introduced to something called winter and sub-zero temperatures for the first time. If you grew up on a farm in Hutchinson, Kan. and get drafted by the New York Jets you’ll be in for quite a culture shock. It will be the same way for a player that grew up in the inner city of Compton, Calif. and is drafted by a rural team like Green Bay.

Think about it. Most of us can choose where we want to work and live. We have the freedom to quit our jobs and find work in a similar field in another state in different part of the country if we wanted to. When you are drafted, a team owns your rights and if you want to play in the NFL you have to play for that team until they release you, trade you or you hit free agency.

Imagine if Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, a Hawaii native, gets drafted by Tampa Bay and he has to move all the way across the country to Florida. If his parents thought it was a long flight from Hawaii to Oregon they can tack on another five hours or so to fly to Tampa to see their son play. If Mariota wants to go home for the bye week weekend he’ll spend half of his time off on an airplane commuting to and from Hawaii.

For the soon-to-be NFL rookies, the draft is the first time they will be out of the element in about three or four years. They will have to find a place to live, move themselves or their families, navigate a new city, befriend new teammates and miss former ones, get used to putting in about double the amount of football time than they did in college, get used to the money they will be making and then experiencing the pressure of performing or being cut.

Eric CurryThat last element wasn’t present in college. In the NFL, if you aren’t good enough, you’ll be replaced. Draft status will only carry a player so far these days. Draft busts like Eric Curry, a former first-round pick of the Bucs in 1993 was given every last chance to live up to his draft billing. Curry somehow hung on for five years in Tampa Bay.

In the present day NFL where the pressure to win is so intense that coaches can be gone after one or two years, as was the case with Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano (two years) and Jacksonville’s Mike Mularkey (one year) and Cleveland’s Rob Chudzinski (one year), or fired after one down year following repeated berths in the division championship game, such was the case with San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh. In college, players may lose their starting spots, but they don’t lose their spot on the team or their scholarships. In the NFL, a player can lose their job very quickly due to injury, attitude or performance. The NFL Draft starts the ticking clock on so many players’ fleeting pro careers.

Former Florida Gators quarterback-tight end-utility player Trey Burton spoke at North Pointe Church last Sunday talked about the relationship of faith and football – two very important things in his life. What struck me was how he heard from his agent that he could go as high as fourth in the NFL Draft two years ago and had a big party on Day 3 to celebrate getting drafted. Burton had family and friends fly in for the big day, only to agonize with him after going through rounds four through seven without hearing his name called.

Burton fielded several phone calls from NFL teams telling him that they were considering drafting him in the sixth round, but the calls he took in the seventh round were from teams beginning to court him for undrafted free agency, which takes place at the conclusion the draft. Burton is not alone.

There are scores of players – perhaps a hundred or so – that have aspirations of getting drafting and have to go through the hurt, shock, embarrassment and sadness of not being able to celebrate being selected by an NFL team. Burton talked about the disappointment about not getting drafted and then feeling bad that so many friends and family essentially flew in for nothing.

The emotional toll that Day 3 prospects go through is intense. One minute you are on the verge of realizing your NFL dreams and finding out what part of the country you will be moving to. The next minute you are going undrafted and hoping that a team – any team – is interested enough in you to want to sign you as a free agent. For players like Burton that had multiple teams wanting to sign him after the draft, the tables are briefly turned. For a moment, the player has the power to decide which team to sign with.

Burton told the congregation that he literally had 15 minutes to decide between four teams, who were in the mad-dash process of trying to sign several undrafted free agents. He had 15 minutes to consult with his wife and make a decision that involved which team he wanted to play on, which coach he wanted to play for and what city he wanted to move his wife and two kids to.

Time is of the essence because the Eagles and the other teams that were courting him were also talking to other tight end prospects. Sometimes in the frenzy of undrafted free agency it’s first come, first served. If you snooze, you lose.

Burton prayed about the decision and then chose the Eagles due to Chip Kelly’s heavy use of the tightPhiladelphia Eagles v New York Giants end position rather than that of Denver and two other teams that were interested in signing with him. But the process happened so fast that neither he nor his agent had time to glance at the Eagles’ depth chart that already featured three experienced tight ends. NFL teams typically only keep three tight ends.

Burton made the team due to his position flexibility and special teams ability, and made Kelly look smart by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown against the New York Giants last year. But as the fourth tight end on the Eagles’ depth chart, Burton is living day-to-day life in the NFL, knowing that he has to compete for his roster spot – and his NFL dreams alive – daily.

The NFL is full of first-round draft busts like Curry, and diamond-in-the-rough players like Demar Dotson, an undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss with one year’s worth of college football experience that made the Bucs’ roster as a try-out player at the rookie mini-camp in 2010 and developed into a starting offensive lineman. The drama-filled journey begins for a new crop of NFL players in less than one month.

FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• The Bucs have been pleased with the strides Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has made this offseason in terms of his mechanics, footwork and throwing motion. That’s another advantage that Winston has over Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. As good as Winston is now, the Bucs believe he has a bigger upside because he has never gone through a football-oriented offseason as he has opted to play for the Seminoles baseball team for the past two springs.

“People don’t realize this but I’ve never been a quarterback year-round,” Winston said. “I’ve been a pitcher and an outfielder, and as an outfielder, you have to have a long release. As a pitcher you have to be long and smooth to the plate. Now I’m a full-time quarterback. I have the best feet I’ve had in a long time. At Florida State we worked on a lot of footwork, but in the offseason when everybody else is working, I’m playing baseball. This is my first-time being a quarterback year-round and I’m looking forward to that for the rest of my life.”

The big reason Winston did so much crazy stuff with his footwork and being swatted by brooms at the beginning of his scripted pro day workout was to prove to NFL teams that he has been working on his escapability from the pocket.

“I have to improve on my pocket management and I have to know when to move one step and when to move six yards,” Winston said. “Throwing on the run is different than managing the pocket and taking a step back and letting it rip accurately. Throwing on the run is different, and I’m going to work on that hard. This is my first time having a football offseason. When I’m doing drills I’m not doing five- or seven-step drops and just hitching. I’m moving all around. That’s probably where I lost 20 pounds. I’m moving because I want to be great. I want to be the best.”

• It’s not uncommon for a team like Tampa Bay to be interested in a particular quarterback or a receiver, and wind up inviting that prospect’s QB or pass-catcher to the pre-draft workout for an evaluation, too. Such was the case with Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley, whom the Bucs are interested in. Tampa Bay scouts also got a good look at Bulldogs senior quarterback Hutson Mason, who was throwing the passes during the workout.

Because of the rapport between quarterbacks and wide receivers in college, it’s commonplace for Georgia Southern v Georgiathose players to want to throw and catch with their familiar teammates. It winds up helping the performance of both the wide receiver and the quarterback during the evaluation process and reduces the number of throws behind receivers due to the established rhythm and timing, as well as the number of dropped passes.

The Bucs are interested in Duke wide receiver and return specialist Jamison Crowder and will get a look at Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Boone at the same time when Crowder works out. When Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has a private workout with Tampa Bay he will be throwing to the Seminoles’ all-time leading receiver Rashad Greene.

That might help Greene get drafted by the Bucs as a slot receiver in the third or fourth round, and the exposure to Tampa Bay’s scouts and coaches may allow Hutson or Boone to get an invite to the team’s rookie mini-camp and possibly be signed for training camp.

PewterReport.com is reporting that another wide receiver the Bucs are interested in and will be working out privately is Kansas State’s dynamic playmaker, Tyler Lockett. A visit with Lockett will happen either this week or next week. The Bucs need a return specialist and a slot receiver, and that’s why the team is interested in Lockett, who will be a third-round pick, and Crowder, who is slated for the fourth round.

• Although the current plan is to start free agent acquisition Bruce Carter at middle linebacker this year, if the Bucs happen to draft UCLA middle linebacker Eric Kendricks in the second round Tampa Bay could keep Carter at strongside linebacker, a position he played along with weakside linebacker in Dallas. The Bucs signed Carter due to his speed and athleticism, and the fact that he can play multiple positions is also appealing.

Tampa Bay has been working out some middle-round middle linebackers this offseason, including Kansas’ Ben Heeney and Georgia’s Ramik Wilson. Both are athletic Mike linebackers that could initially replace reserve middle linebacker Dane Fletcher, who was not re-signed this offseason, and compete on special teams. Heeney and Wilson were very productive middle linebackers in college and could develop into starting-caliber players in the NFL in time.

• Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen conducted the defensive line workouts at the University of Washington on Thursday. Tampa Bay is smitten with powerful nose tackle Danny Shelton – as are a lot of teams – but the real target of Cullen’s interest in Washington may have been defensive end-outside linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, who led the nation with 19 sacks.

Kikaha is said to have impressed as both a defensive end and an outside linebacker during his workout, although his 4.97 time in the 40-yard dash at 243 pounds will give some scouts pause. Kikaha is a tenacious, high-motor pass rusher that led all of college football with 19 sacks last year. Kikaha finished his Huskies career with a school-record 36 sacks, beating former Bucs defensive end Daniel Teo-Nesheim’s former record of 30.

Kikaha could be an option for the Bucs in the third round if he’s still on the board. He’s torn his ACL twice (2011, 2012), and that coupled with a slow 40-time may keep him out of the second round. But fierce pass rushers are always in demand, and the fact that he could add 10 pounds and play defensive end in a 4-3 as well as stay at his current weight and play in a 3-4 means he could be in demand by a lot of teams on Day 2 of the draft.

• Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has caught a lot of flack for his less than chiseled physique. Pro Football Talk called Winston flabby during his pro day workout in Tallahassee, Fla. on Tuesday. I actually thought Winston looked pretty trim compared to late in the 2014 football season when he gained 20 pounds due to the fact that his conditioning was limited because of an ankle sprain.

Could Winston be in better shape? Yes, and I believe he will get there with an NFL training program. Is his physique worse than that of Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, both of whom have won two Super Bowls? No, not really.

I remember Bucs head coach Jon Gruden talking to me and criticizing former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn after his pro day in 2006 for being too muscular and ripped. Having big, tight muscles negatively affects a quarterback’s accuracy and release, which is supposed to be smooth. Quinn’s release has always been too mechanical, and that is attributed to having too much mass. That could explain why San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick struggled last year as he continued to add muscle and lift weights, and why Tim Tebow will likely never be an accurate quarterback.

That’s why some of the best quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and Tom Brady don’t wow you with their physiques. Heck, Jim Plunkett and Mark Rypien might have been considered a bit flabby by the same standard applied to Winston, and they won Super Bowls, too.

• Bucs general manager Jason Licht deserves kudos for trading free safety Dashon Goldson, a big free agent bust from 2013, to the Redskins for a sixth-round pick in 2016. Tampa Bay surrenders its seventh-round pick in 2016 in return, but the fact that the Bucs got any value whatsoever is quite a feat. I thought for sure the Bucs would have to cut him.

The Bucs will likely start Bradley McDougald at strong safety and have Chris Conte and Major Wright compete at free safety. Don’t be surprised if Tampa Bay drafts a safety in the middle rounds, too, as Conte and Wright are currently considered to be short-term fixes.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Kansas City Chiefs• Tampa Bay brought in veteran New England offensive lineman Dan Connolly and former Bucs defensive end George Johnson for a visit on Thursday. The Bucs should sign both players. If the Bucs draft Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston or Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota having a more veteran offensive line in front of the rookie QB will help his transition to the NFL. Connolly, a former teammate of Logan Mankins, could be a stop-gap right guard for 2014 and help Kadeem Edwards and other young guards develop. Because he has extensive playing time at center he would be a much better backup behind Evan Dietrich-Smith than Garrett Gilkey is.

As for Johnson, the 6-foot-4, 263-pound defensive end would be a welcome addition in Tampa Bay. He’s young (27) and still has some upside. He recorded his first six NFL sacks last year as a wave pass rusher in Detroit, but I remember him shining in the 2011 preseason in Tampa Bay, recording three sacks. I think he’s worth taking a chance on with an inexpensive contract, and I’d love to see what defensive line coaches Joe Cullen and Paul Spicer could do with him in training camp.

• And finally, congratulations to former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman for signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. Freeman, who is one of the nicest guys in the NFL, is reunited with Dennis Hickey, the Dolphins general manager that was Tampa Bay’s director of college scouting and player personnel for many years under Mark Dominik.

In order for Freeman to stick in Miami he needs to eat, drink, sleep and live football – and nothing else. Staying away from the South Beach nightlife and living in the film room at the Dolphins compound would serve him well. He’ll likely battle the Bucs in the preseason, too, which should be interesting. Good luck, Josh.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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georgehicks
georgehicks
6 years ago

I thank for all the updates and the news on what Tampa may do. But did’t Johnson sign with someone in the last 30 hrs besidesthe bucs. But The Barron pick was a terrible pick they could had the boston college product. And now Tampa is paying the price now at LB. But their is hope on the horizon.GO Bucs in 2015 and beyond.

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  georgehicks
6 years ago

Well Buc fans I need for all the true buc fans go to the news stand today or tomorrow and pickup a copy of the 128 pages of PRO FOOTBALL NOW BY HUB ARKUSH’S.These articles are unbelieveable it matches Winston vs Mariota. It also breaks down each team needs and who would fit on Offensive as well as defense It also break down all the top players by posions and between the pro’s & cons. It was espically helpful u the guys that has come in so far to visit Tampa and understanding each placer good points as well as… Read more »

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

I am no psychologist, but if I ever get the chance, I’m going to play one on TV. Perhaps you’ve heard the adage “A leopard cannot change it’s spots”. Well that’s bad news if you’re a leopard or you have spots. But people can change and change for the better. Some people require an epiphany, others just simply mature or grow up. I think that Winston has been immature and lacked the guidance and peer group associations to inhibit or moderate his behavior, ie, BMOC acting out in over the top ways to garner attention! He’s now seen the under… Read more »

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

I agree. It seems like JW has received the jolt he needed and knows the consequences of backsliding. Hopefully he will throw himself into the game and stay focused for the uppcoming season. His on-air comments do feel sincere.

tjhuth
tjhuth
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

Winston wants the MONEY. Once he gets paid by some stupid team, he will fall down the same rabbit hole as Talib, Blount, and a host of other spoiled, self-centered athletes. Character matters. The kid has none. Period.

pinkstob
pinkstob
6 years ago

Fab 1: I’m not sure if his character has changed since he was suspended from the Clemson game, but his maturity and feeling of entitlement hasn’t. Those are just as big if not bigger deals than his character issues. Saying he’s going to win the Super Bowl next year even though he doesn’t know who is teammates and coaches are happened after the Clemson game at the Combine. Electing to throw over 100 passes just a few days before his Pro Day in an attempt to “do it big” backfired and was an immature move. On a side note, there’s… Read more »

e
e
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

How are you going to stand to watch the Bucs if they do indeed draft Winston? e

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  e
6 years ago

The same way you will if they do indeed draft Mariota.

e
e
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

You are correct, sir.

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

I have no problems with Winston’s desire to win a Super Bowl. While it’s extremely unlikely, I’d rather have players that show a strong desire to win.

As far as his comments and maturity, I’m not ready to indict anyone for showing immature traits right out of college. Most of the people I know personally were just as cocky before entering the real world.

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  DCGoth
6 years ago

It’s not his desire to win a Super Bowl that’s immature. It’s getting on national TV and declaring that he’s going to win the Super Bowl before he even has a team. There’s a big difference. On the other point, there’s nothing wrong with being immature right out of college depending on what you plan to do for a career. If you plan on being the #1 overall pick as a QB in the NFL draft, it’s bad. History has shown it leads to failure in the NFL unless you’re Joe Namath. Cam is having success and made it to… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

PInk my friend sometimes you reach so bad it looks horrible. SO him wanting to show he can throw more at the combine was arrogant?Sometimes I think you just grasp at straws for reasons to hate this guy. I’m glad we have a chance to grab a QB that wants to win the superbowl and wants to play for us. Not a mime.ANd his pro day didn’t back fire, unlike most qb’s , he didn’t play it safe and wanted to show the things he’s working on that he’s not very good at. But I’m sure that makes him arrogant… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

I already responded to E’s comment above. There is zero chance we take Mariota? Zero? Now who sounds borderline childlike? I forgot what movie I saw it in but I think it rings true. If you have to result to personal attacks, you are losing the debate. Everything I said I backed up with examples of things that actually happened. If it’s hitting a nerve you may need to start asking yourself what you’re really trying to protect here. I want the best QB for the Bucs because I won’t rest until they win another Super Bowl. Mariota has scored… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

I’m not trying to sounds childlike pink I’m just stating facts here. You are literally the ony person who even thinks we have a chance to draft mariotta. And as for your attacks, I never said you were acting like a child I said you were acting child like, again don’t put words in my mouth. And if you think chips offense is the same as oregons. It’s not. And you’re not stating facts, your stating your disdain for winston that’s all. As for the points we’ve already gone over that and winston averages 1 point less agame and that… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

And for the record Pink, I’m not attacking you, we are all Bucs fans in here so don’t think that. I’m just as passionate about the QB I want as you are about the one you want.

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

The only reason Chip’s offense is not exactly the same is because he doesn’t have the QB he wants to run it. Do you think Chip’s offense would fall out of the top 5 with Mariota running it instead of Mark Sanchez? On a side note let me say this. After ranking in the top 5 with Foles and Sanchez running his offense every team in the NFL should be trying to do what Chip Kelly is doing offensively. Do you think Sanchez would be as successful in any other NFL offense? Back to your response, more points is more… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

To respond to your comments below, you say desicion making along and accuracy transfer. The last 4 or 5 qbs that came from oregons system had great TD to int ratios and not one Is left in the nfl so those stats don’t mean much, same could be said for tebow. And thankfully our orginization isn’t to a point of letting people on a website make the pick for them. As for chips offense, we won’t be running it so why bring in a guy that doesn’t fit? And to finish you say scouts specialize in knowing what’s important and… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

1st point: True, but Mariota is far better than those other QB’s and it’s not just based on TD:INT ratio which is different than accuracy. Mariota is accurate enough but it’s not his strongest suit, it’s his decision making which allowed him to be far more effective in the Oregon system than any previous QB. That great decision making can translate to any offense. I was listing the things that transfer, not all of the things Mariota does perfectly. 2nd point: I agree, which is why I said “influencing” not make the pick for them. Dominik used to read Pewter… Read more »

chefboho
chefboho
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

I don’t eve know how to respond to your mindless dribble pinktob. Half your rambling makes no sense. Army fatigues a bad thing?? Sure…. Throwing more passes to show what he’s working on is childlike to u… Laughable. I used to enjoy reading your responses but all I read from u is a bitterness and anger. Just because u don’t “like” Winston doesn’t mean he’s not the best choice for our team. Your really reaching now and I think u need to pump the breaks and see how it all works out.

chefboho
chefboho
Reply to  chefboho
6 years ago

I’m also glad that you know how long it takes for people to mature. So how many years does it take for the average person?

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  chefboho
6 years ago

How long does it take for the average person to mature? That’s beyond the scope of this website. If you don’t mind let’s look at how long it takes NFL players to mature based on historical data. Brandon Marshall didn’t mature until he finally sought help for his mental issue in 2010. The maturity was shown in admitting he had a problem and seeking help. That took 5 years. Although it’s not clear whether Manziel is cured yet, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say 1 year. Cam Newton had well documented maturity issues and despite being… Read more »

chefboho
chefboho
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

So your basing the Human race on five examples. Your not selling me on that simple logic. How many other players that we don’t even hear about making strides in maturity after getting to the nfl. Cam NEVER had a problem once he left college. I’m fact he still sulks like a child when he looses. I guess that means he’s still immature. Oh and for the record, you or I have ZERO influence in who the bucs draft so u can stop with that as well. Your not influencing them. They honestly believe he’s better and they stated it… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  chefboho
6 years ago

Chefboho, I’m glad you used to enjoy reading my posts and I’m sorry to hear you don’t anymore. But that’s not why I’m hear. I’m here to do everything I can to influence the people that make decisions for the Bucs (who it is my understanding read Pewter Report) in an effort to ensure they win another Super Bowl. I will not be “pumping my brakes” anytime soon. If it means getting a better QB to me typing these posts, even if it means losing the respect of my fellow posters, is worth it. It is not my intention to… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

Pink- You are one stubborn man but hold onto the belief the Bucs are still taking Mariota for 4 more weeks anyway, lol

e
e
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

I have to admit that a few years ago, I really went in on a QB that I wanted the Bucs to draft… I even went as far as emailing Mark Dominick asking him to give a good look at the guy… Surprisingly, Mark emailed me back and said “good work in getting my email” (i.e. please don’t email me again) and then went on to say that the Bucs would scout all prospects carefully and “thanks for going along for the ride…” I appreciated that he actually emailed me back. Unfortunately, that QB was Brian Brohm. Winston is not… Read more »

grafikdetail
grafikdetail
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

you guys are such entertainment lol

deeznuts
deeznuts
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

You are my hero, that’s everything Ive wanted to say for so long. I think we are the last of a dying breed pinkstob… I will lose all hope if we pick Winston…but then again I said that about conte…I think Glennon can be a Brian Griese kind of stop-gap guy until mariota is ready. Winstons game tape may say he’s ready but his behavior and attitude says otherwise. After Winston was talking about winning the Super Bowl he started talking about throwing at Sherman and revis….what a clown

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  deeznuts
6 years ago

I know DEeZ we should take a guy who has no desire to win next year and is completely petrified to throw to one half of the field.
Let’s take a guy who is scared of Sherman and revis. It’s called confidence, but I’m sure all of you detractors call it arrogance.

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

tHIS IS COACHGeorge HIcks: I’ve coach basketball for youth sports over 50 years. I donot think Winston is the Qb that Tampa should Draft. What if Tampa gets the other QB from Oregon. The offensive Coach would have a field day beating the defenses. The more I think about Winston the more I say RED FLAGS all over the pick. Take Mariota or get the team with the most picks and pick Brett Hundley this year and pick next yr either qb from Miss St or Mich St in 2016.Not Winston Go Bucs

tjhuth
tjhuth
Reply to  pinkstob
6 years ago

EXCELLENT REPLY.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

A really strong and focused Article Scott! Very Good. Freeman’s issue was way too much hanging with the young ladies at the bars and not focused on football; I’m still not sure if he has enough fortitude and love for the game.

jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

I liked the post and agree with most points except the excuses for the int’s what a bunch of crapola, poor JW didn’t have Benjamin so Rashad Green is some bum and Nick o’Leary and not to mention the top rated center in college in C Irving,and guard in Tre Jackson Pa-leeese with the excuses. name one wr for Big Ben in college or drew Brees at Purdue or Matt Ryan at BC? tick tock tick tock tick tock yeah most qb’s don;t have an elite wr in college so save that piss poor excuse and rashad Green was a… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

One thing is for sure Mr. Cook and Mr. Reynolds should be JW PR Guys, they will have an answer for everything that goes wrong with him. I like listening to Winston himself rather than the excuses the PR Guys make for him.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

That made me laugh jon. Winston is pretty upfront about forcing the ball last year.

sunshineben
sunshineben
6 years ago

Don’t understand why people want Winston as the face of the bucs after all that has happened in his personal life .. With all the money and women after him, why take the chance. As a season tkt holder pick M.M.

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  sunshineben
6 years ago

As a season ticket holder myself, I just want to see wins. I’m not expecting to win the division; however, any improvement would allow me to keep the faith in Lovie’s plan.

I will support whichever QB we pick, as long as we pick one of the two. As far as which one that is, I will trust the coaching staff on that one. Hopefully it will be the one that has the best potential to win.

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

Tampa WILL NOT be drafting Marcus if we stay with the first pick…If it’s silly to think Tampa would trade out of the one spot for more picks and Williams- It’s got to be even more crazy to believe Marcus will be the first overall pick…

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Hey pinkstob – I actually appreciated your posts as I can see you thought about your arguments and made some well reasoned points – clearly not all of PR a Nation agreed with you but I saw a lot of good sense in what you said. Oh and there’s this little nugget — out comes the second sexual assault allegation against JW today….hmmmmm, maybe he turned a corner on Sept whatever, or maybe he has a problem that wasn’t a one-off….if we pick this guy, we better understand the risk we’re picking and hope that corner on Sept whatever really… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Well most of us have own about this “second assault” that has magically been hiding until now. Do any of you really think the bucs haven’t done evey ounce of research on winston. I guarantee there has been more work done in him then any prospect ever. If there is any “second” assault tampa wouldn’t have even been at winstons pro day or had him in to one buc place.

Bucko40
Bucko40
6 years ago

Why is it Stupid Stuff when Winston does it? If anyone else were to do any of these types of incidents it would be a crime. No questions asked.

buddah
buddah
6 years ago

Pink is not the only one. I too believe that the Buccaneer brass would be crazy enough to draft Winston. He is going to be nothing but trouble. As a psychologist, I can assure you that there is a huge difference between saying you’ve changed and really having changed. Winston’s actions reveal a pattern of narcissism that is buttressed by his it’s all about me egotistical press conferences. He is not prepared for the many ways he will be humbled in the NFL. If they do draft him, the franchise will be suffering from it for years. There is no… Read more »

Bucko40
Bucko40
Reply to  buddah
6 years ago

nicely stated.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  buddah
6 years ago

All about me press conferences? You clearly have never watched a NOlES press conferance, because he constantly talks about his teammates. How do you know he hasn’t changed? Have you talked to him? You can judge a person through tv? He has done some very dumb things in the past. Let’s not think for a second I support the things he’s done. They were very foolish, but you all act like he’s the devil my goodness.

Buctebow
Buctebow
Reply to  buddah
6 years ago

Yep Winston could bust and hurt the team, but they will draft him all the same. Let’s hope for a miracle.

Bucko40
Bucko40
6 years ago

The Winston Report will Apologize for Winston for almost anything. He did stupid things. The Interceptions were the OL or the lack of Running game or the WR weren’t good enough. None of these players actually threw the football. If Winston continues this trait in the NFL defenses will tear him apart. So stop pretending otherwise.

Roland
Roland
6 years ago

“second-highest total (of INTs) in all of college football”

ROFLMAO

This franchise is so bad since January 17, 2009. So bad.
What is our front office thinking.
So sad.

Roland
Roland
6 years ago

“Bucs fans better be ready for some interceptions from Winston because they’ll be coming – along with the winning. That was Winston’s rap at Florida State.” Gino Torretta was a winner in college too. Maybe we should sign him and use the draft pick on a player from the FSU huddle that has an actually chance to be better then Byron Leftwich or Kyle Orton. Call Carolina and see if they’ll take the #1 pick for Kelvin Benjamin and then the Glazer’s and our front office can’t shame this franchise further by taking a marginally talent player who may just… Read more »

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  Roland
6 years ago

I could personally not give a #&* about community image. I just want to see wins. That will keep me paying for my season tickets; however, I do wish that the Glazer’s gave more of an appearance to care about winning. I would trade the Glazer’s Jerry Jones, in a tutu, waving a wand filled with fairy dust, if it tranlsated into winning the division. #$$ community image.

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  DCGoth
6 years ago

^^^^ ^^^^
(I hate typos.) :)

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  DCGoth
6 years ago

Ugh my comment was treated as embedded code, ugh. :) Above should read “trade the Glazer’s for Jerry Jones”

I really wish we could edit our posts. :)

SOXX
SOXX
6 years ago

Your wasting our time talking about Winston lets only talk about Mariota from now on.

Roland
Roland
Reply to  SOXX
6 years ago

Soxx we already knew about the second girl.
We already know the only reason the DA didn’t press charges the first time was because of how Florida State University officials and Tallahassee police took steps to both hide, and then hinder, the criminal investigation into a rape allegation against Jameis Winston.
This is nothing new.
That was all out back in October.
That doesn’t seem to interest the classy media in Tampa or our front office.

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
6 years ago

The second accusation or accuser or whatever we decide to call it is just another woman coming out at the smell of money. This woman did nothing for TWO YEARS! How can anyone believe she is credible? IMO , just another person trying to get rich at any cost which has become the American way of life.

Roland
Roland
Reply to  KINDERRT
6 years ago

KINDERRT, she contacted the second victims attorney on her own to explain what Winston had done to her. Just because a woman doesn’t or can’t scream no during an encounter doesn’t mean it’s not rape… Not saying it was BTW.

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

So many Debbie Downers on this web site. Look if Winstons the pick, and you hate him, just go away. We were 2-14 last year, and you Debbie’s don’t want to pick the best QB in the draft when we so need one? This is not a joke, please leave. Wait till you see the difference between the two when the real Jon Gruden does his shtick. Mariota can’t even spit out a play in the huddle, while Jameis is moving protections. Again, if you can’t see the talent difference, you’re blinded by hate,or you just don’t no football talent.… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

I think if you’re not at least a little bit satirical and masochistic you cannot possible be a life-long Bucs fan…

e
e
6 years ago

Scott, If you’re in need of a vacation, all you need to do is write a one word article with the word “Winston,” hit save and hit the beach. I guarantee a couple hundred comments when you get back. e

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
Reply to  e
6 years ago

surferdudes and e, nice posts!

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

I don’t know the origin of this meme, but “Haters gon’ hate!”. To be clear, I’m not calling pinkstob a hater, he’s just a guy that’s fallen in love. Happened to me once and I still haven’t gotten over it! lol.

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

macabee, very good also!

Dbuc63
Dbuc63
Reply to  KINDERRT
6 years ago

Kindirt- You’re like a little girl with all your childish rationalizations and if someone is pro JW they are the coolest poster and anyone with a different opinion of JW is well, an idiot or doesn’t “get it”. Seems to me that JW and you share similar personality traits. He’s your BOY,we get. YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE NO IDEA how JW will be in the NFL as does anyone else. Your argument about his assault allegations is very weak and juvenile. Quite frankly, I’d expect more from an adult unless of course you are a teenager. I do not know if… Read more »

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
Reply to  Dbuc63
6 years ago

Buc63, Yes I would like to see the Buc’s draft Winston. He is by all accounts (from the so called experts) the most pro ready QB in the draft. I have yet to see a post from you that is positive about the Bucs, are you a Buc fan or just a hater? I will support who ever the Bucs choose but will you? No one knows for sure about any drafted player but will never not take a player just because of unproven accusations. Have a nice day and go hate somewhere else.

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  KINDERRT
6 years ago

I am also leaning now more towards JW as the one most ready to run a team, and I have originally been wanting Mariota. As the time goes on, i am starting to see more readiness from JW. I will still support whichever QB we take though.

Also, I am not caught up in JW because of FSU. I really don’t like FSU. I root for the Gators. I could care less about the ‘noles, as long as they lose to the Gators as often as possible. :)

seat26
seat26
6 years ago

Winston will be the guy. It is time to rally around the decision.

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

At the end of the day folks- it’s just football… Winston will not be leading the free world or have his finger on the button- he will be throwing passes in a damn game played with other millionaires…
I’m gonna start sellin bracelets that say ‘WWJWD’ – for those times in life when when your judgement is questionable and you allow immaturity and the inexperience of youth guide you in making decisions- good or horribly bad!- the Bucs brass already have them and are ready to make their pick…

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Winston is the best QB out there; I think we all can agree that we hope he stays out of any type of trouble. At least I know JW won’t be a JF because JW loves the game of football; more importantly, he thrives on being the best. I’ll take some interceptions because i also know there will be many TD’s too. Go Bucs! Pick Winston. We need a winner who wants to win!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
6 years ago

You have to respect the great power of sports. Only in this genre can one name bring people rooting for the same team to each others throats. Been guilty of it myself so I can’t talk but damn it’s getting aggressive in here people. We’re all on the same side!
But unless somthing happens, there is no way anyone can really think there is any chance of us not drafting Winston, except Pink. Unless he does something stupid before the draft, it’s a lock. If not as I’ve said before this would be the largest smoke screen of all time.

SwedeBuc
SwedeBuc
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

About that smoke screen… what could there possibly be to gain from nearly anointing JW and then actually planning to do something else? What could be the end game I don’t see any obvious angles? Anyone, just for the sake of projecting something crazy? Call it a break from the very entertaining JW vs. MM dialog, that’s still alive and well.

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  SwedeBuc
6 years ago

The only angle I could see from a smoke screen would be to inflate the vakue of the #1 pick, in order to start a trade war between other QB-hungry teams. I (hopefully) don’t see the Bucs doing this.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  SwedeBuc
6 years ago

Honestly I don’t think it’s a smoke screen , way too much love there. The only reason they would smoke screen is to get a bunch of picks from a team that wants WInston. But I don’t think it’s a smoke screen.

e
e
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

The ghost of Culverhouse could rise up and pull the 10 a.m. draft day switch ala Emmitt Smith to “the next Lawrence Taylor; Keith McCants?” e

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  e
6 years ago

Hopefully the Bucs will be haunted by the specter of Jadaveon Clowney. :) (Although, yeah, I remember some incredible “why?” moments from past drafts.)

plopes808
plopes808
6 years ago

Let me start by saying I do think Winston is the right choice at #1. That being said I still need to point out that the Bucs are attributing his high interception numbers to shaky OL play….it’s a good thing Tampa has such a solid OL! (sarcasm) It’s gonna be a rough year but with a few key additions we will turn the ship around (hopefully sooner than later)

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  plopes808
6 years ago

That’s why they sell beer at the games. :)

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

One thing seems clear to me…if we pick WINSTON it will be the biggest gamble this franchise has made since betting that Bo Jackson was just kidding that he would never play for Tampa Bay….I see better odds in taking other routes, but it’s not my franchise to gamble with….we’ll see what sort of riverboat the Glazers hang out on in a few weeks….

SwedeBuc
SwedeBuc
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

This is what really bothers me too, JW is a more complete product now, but the uncertainty (on and off the field) is huge, especially for a, franchise defining, #1 pick, by the guy dubbed St Lovie. MM is probably too much of a projection for #1 pick, so what to do? I’m wrecking my mind to see some angle… also they way the Bucs are endorsing JW seems a bit too over the top. Even if they already decided, why go all in like that, when we all know they will not negotiate anything until after the card is… Read more »

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

What if Tampa traded the first pick with the Titans( Titans selecting JW) the followed up by trading the second pick to The Browns or Jets( either team selections MM)-How many picks could we amass?

SOXX
SOXX
6 years ago

I just think the Glazers want Mariota because Chip Kelly wants him. If we draft Mariota we can be on the cutting edge of football. when we hear that we are going to a Multi spread formation offense we will know that the M.M. pick is in. The Glazers are smart. Tampa will be the cutting edge.

chefboho
chefboho
Reply to  SOXX
6 years ago

This statement doesn’t even make sense. Our offensive coordinator is a “get vertical” pass kind of guy and with our recievers and tight end, we are no where near fast enough to be effective with bubble screens and read options.

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  SOXX
6 years ago

The new offensive playbook can then be replaced by an oversized deck of “Cards Against Humanity.” That’ll keep the defenses guessing. :)

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  SOXX
6 years ago

The glazers want him because chip does? That rediculous. Sean Payton like winston better, does that mean anything? Ofcourse chip what’s him, he fits that system. Our offense isn’t even close to being built like a fast paced offense. Cutting edge? How many playoff wins has that gotten chip?

SOXX
SOXX
Reply to  cgmaster27
6 years ago

In short we want Chip Kellys offense we tried to hire Chip in 2012 not so much for his coaching but for his offense. Now we have a chance to draft the QB of this offense and we just signed a new Offensive Coordinator who has strong ties to this offense. We have big strong WRs for the Red Zone which Oregon didn’t have against Ohio St. We will draft a slot WR I’m hoping for Nelson Agholor.

Roland
Roland
6 years ago

“second-highest total (of INTs) in all of college football”
Kelvin Benjamin is to Jameis Winston exactly what Mike Evans is to Johnny Manziel.

Well, except Manziel is a good athlete.

What a bad year to be at #1 and to not have the time to be patient with a QB (MM) that has such a high potential upside. I have to agree with cremdonado and hope we trade down twice.

JohnnyC
JohnnyC
6 years ago

I live him Birmingham (Winston’s Home town). I adopted the bucs about 20-25 years ago and I’ve been a hardcore fan ever since. If we do in fact draft Winston, then I’m done. He’s 100% punk. It’s very sad the extent that everyone is going to in order to convince themselves that this guy has changed. I’m sure I’ll get blasted over this comment, but please remember it as this guy embarrasses the franchise for the next 5 years until he washes out.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  JohnnyC
6 years ago

SO you met him? Please explain how he’s a punk and not just the headlines you read. And if we do draft him, bye bye , find a new team. But don’t roll back on here when the bucs start winning again. I’m from Pittsburgh, that doesn’t mean I know anything about Dan Marino and he was a coke addict.

Roland
Roland
6 years ago

Just watched more film on Winston and on every medium or long length throw he makes he is still rocking back cocking his arm and then firing. I try to find him not doing it but I can’t. (Well not firing, mediocre NFL arm strength though.)

So, is this something Jason Licht thinks we can fix or is he just willing to give NFL safeties a full tenth of a second head start?

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

More than likely Winston is the pick.We know that he is a very polarizing player( until he starts winning ) and that he comes with some risk.We also know that we have been beaten over the head with articles for,against,sideways,backwards on the issue- CAN WE GET SOME DIFFERENT INFORMATION?! If the 1 is such a lock- what about players in the following rounds? Why not project( based off predominant mock drafts) the players whom might be available at and around our picks.Who is worth trading up for?is it worth trading down in a round ?Anything else but WINSTON,WINSTON,Mariota,WINSTON!!! The horse… Read more »

Roland
Roland
6 years ago

That seems a mean thing to say about Horse. I mean I don’t always agree with his posts, but France… Eeeeewwwwww!

PS: On second thought, I will take his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

It strikes me as odd when the folks who are convinced that Jameis Winston is the best choice for the Bucs to draft seem to merely point out the qualities that make him a valid candidate and discount the immature acts in his history. Yet those who prefer Marcus Mariota Mariota spend most of their efforts seeking flaws in Winston rather than highlighting Mariota’s attributes other than his good guy image. Winston supporters don’t hate Mariota but Mariota believers with their high and mighty attitude, sure don’t mirror Mariota’s gracious ways.

deeznuts
deeznuts
6 years ago

I don’t think either Mariota or Winston can come in year1 and outperform glennon coming off a 2-14 season. I’d rather see our offense run by a guy like Mariota..he is a decision maker and makes VERY FEW mistakes. the ball gets out of his hands FAST, orchestrated an advanced untraditional dominant offense flawlessly, threw less CAREER INT than winston’s 2014 INT, throws on the move, 3 years of playing exp., silent-never-complain-worker, and knows what to do in clutch situations (Oregon put the ball in his hands as much as they could, run or pass). Yes he hasn’t run an… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  deeznuts
6 years ago

The interceptions mean nothing, people need to get that out of their heads. Not one QB in the last 6 years of Oregon football has thrown more than 9 interceptions, yet not one is in the league right now. Int’s in college mean nothing once people get to the pros.
And not running a huddle is a much bigger deal than you make it out to be. Did you see grudens QB camp with mariota butchering play calls? And you think it’s not a big deal?

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  deeznuts
6 years ago

With respect to Glennon, his 2014 performance was, at best, mediocre. His movement skills make Nick Foles look like a gazelle. We should trade him now, while we can still grab a (possible) third round pick for him. As far as the moral compass, as mentioned earlier, I could give a rat’s a$$ about morality in athletes. I’ve followed the Bucs since ’76; however, since I moved to Tampa, (a while ago), from DC, I also follow those local teams. I will take Ray Lewis over any other defensive player, as he helped bring in Super Bowl wins. I will… Read more »

matador
matador
6 years ago

This has to be one of the most ridiculous, contrived articles ever written by PR, which continues to reach new lows in terms of journalistic integrity. For anyone, much less a professional, to contort and distort information to this extent in support of their agenda is ridiculous. That’s especially true since this entire debate is silly – both QBs have enough question marks on the field, forgetting JW’s demonstrated character flaws (before the light switch moment PR cites – which is absurd), and we all know the overwhelming majority of QB draft picks are busts. Would be hard to read… Read more »

SwedeBuc
SwedeBuc
Reply to  matador
6 years ago

This post sum up my thinking exactly, derisk and build the lines through clever trade downs. Neither QB is a reasonable #1, too many issues. It’s not sexy but it’s a proven method. Also some objectivity would be nice, PR it’s been too long since last time.

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  matador
6 years ago

I don’t really see anything contrived or lacking in integrity in this article. Seems fine to me. As far as distorting information, I’ve worked in television. You haven’t seen distortion of the truth until you’ve worked at an editing station. I’m pretty sure I could cut JW’s words well enough to have him recite Green Eggs and Ham. Television editing is awesome that way. :) As far as trading down, I can’t see it. As you’ve mentioned, the majority of QB draft picks could turn out to be busts. This is true of any position; however, when you are in… Read more »

magoobee
magoobee
6 years ago

It baffles my mind how people dismiss his INT rate in his second season because he had lesser talent than Season 1. Please remember that even in Season 2 he had superior talent then the teams he played. In Tampa, the talent around him will be less then the rest of the league. The article states “How will Mariota handle throwing interceptions? Since he did not throw many in college” My question is how is Winston going to handle LOSING. Because there will be a lot of that in Tampa. Tampa lost more games last year than Winston has lost… Read more »

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  magoobee
6 years ago

I’m not really cincerned about what happened in his past college year. People also downplay MM’s fumbles. I will be happy with either selection, and trust the coaching staff to work them into overcoming their issues.

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

Let’s just be honest with ourselves- the Bucs will be drafting a QB,like it or not…We should have been in a better position not to be forced to choose a QB- but after the revolving door policy with coaching and leadership- we are backed into a corner.Wether you like Mariota or Winston- it really doesn’t matter- both are flawed,both have question marks- big ones,but we are the Bucs and need to put as much polish on a crappy situation we can…we are in the position we are in because we sucked worse than any other team in the league last… Read more »

Jason Bourne
Jason Bourne
6 years ago

Winston will be an epic fail , Myself, like a lot of other Mariota fans have been banned from the the forum for speaking out …. I just hope people own up to the mistake of drafting Jameis …this message will self destruct in five seconds …or be deleted

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

I wonder if Andrew Luck was coming out this year and was our pick- would he have enough to make us a winner or would we still need a few years and a few drafts to get us there?My guess is that we would be a work in progress and after a few years,a competitor… We have no Luck but could end up with a Winston or Mariota- both will take work,both are a risk and after a few years both could help a team become competitive…Best case scenario is we are are drafting one more player that will help… Read more »

buclover1988
buclover1988
6 years ago

I mean just wow lol. So many of you think Winston is beyond maturing. Man o man. Get real. He’s 20-21 yrs old. He’s going to be fine. Pinkstob, sorry, but the guy can mature. He’s freaking 20! Mariota of course is clean already, but that doesn’t mean it will translate to victories. At this point it’s a pick your poision. Do you take Mariota and hope he can figure it out, or do take Winston and hope he can mature? Personally I think Winston just makes to much sense. Idc if he thinks he’s gonna win the super bowl… Read more »

buclover1988
buclover1988
6 years ago

At some point guys, we have to take a chance on a qb.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  buclover1988
6 years ago

Hopefully you can appreciate the tentativeness of the crowd after we took chances on Vinny, Trent, and Josh most recently…but I agree with your sentiment on needing to roll the dice.

Buctebow
Buctebow
Reply to  buclover1988
6 years ago

Yes and this is the point. Boom or bust.

plopes808
plopes808
6 years ago

If this year’s draft goes as well as last year, we will do just fine. Our top 3 picks worked out well with the exception of ASJ’s injury. Our OL additions are poised to compete for starting positions this year. The bad apples have been dropped. Put a quality QB in there with a competent OC running the show and we will see marked improvement on offense. Our defense will spend less time on the field and won’t fade in the 2nd half nearly as often as last year. We’re on our way to becoming respectable again

Bucmeister
Bucmeister
6 years ago

Who said his character changed? Oh! Winston did. Then all is right in the world of (Eddie Haskell ) I mean Winston. The 2016 Draft begins “The Tampa Bay Browns are on the clock”

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

What a bunch of Chicken Little’s we have here. It’s one thing to live through bad hires, bad seasons, bad drafts, bad free agent signings and bad headlines for a few questionable sorts. But we here in Bucland don’t stop there. We also enjoy predicting bad coaching, bad drafts, bad free agent signings and the “inevitable” upcoming bad season on the horizon. Here we would rather mope than hope. We want to jeer instead of cheer. We prefer to pout than shout. We have the number one choice in the Draft with a QB who many proclaim is the best… Read more »

DCGoth
DCGoth
Reply to  scubog
6 years ago

I aagree. We have a unique opportunity here and we need to make the draft pick and have faith that we will get a much needed QB. If it’s a bust, we’re no worse than before. If the pick goes well, we’ve filled an integral position of need. I could add to your fun list of QB antics; however, I think you summed it up well. Hopefully we’ll grab a QB, followed by a couple more picks with a potential to start, improve on 2-14, and then continue to improve in 2016. It’s hard to fix ten years of bad… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  scubog
6 years ago

I appreciate the optimism scubog…as I said above, it’s hard to imagine anyone being a life-long Bucs fan who isn’t a little satirical and masochistic…but every now and then even the self-deprivation should take a rest (like in 2003). As for “best QB prospect since Andrew Luck”, well that’s a pretty low bar and probably is a moniker that could also apply to Mariota. I agree that waiting for the perfect 10 is a worthless endeavor – but perhaps that lends credence to those fellow PR-ites who suggest rolling the dice on Mariota is worth the chance (it does seem… Read more »

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

It will be nice to have a ‘ franchise QB’ for a change since it’s always seemed to be a position of great weakness in Tampa- even if it doesn’t work out…At least the chance was taken and we don’t look to rely on another Rob Johnson or Josh McClown patchwork approach to the position.

Buctebow
Buctebow
Reply to  cremdonado
6 years ago

exactly

cremdonado
cremdonado
6 years ago

I can’t drink the kool aid yet as we still have a lot of holes to fill,but hopefully the additions that have been made and will be made will at least make the team fun to watch…Winston to Evans or Mariota to Evans will be a staple of Sportcenter highlights for years to come- win or lose…

dotASC
dotASC
6 years ago

Scott,
I had recently made a constructively critical post on the forums about your occasional lack of mentioning whether your articles are based on source statement, or simply your opinions. I don’t know if you saw that comment, but you sure did a great job integrating that information in this piece.

Great, great article. It’s obvious you’re making an effort to evenhandedly write about Winston. Brilliant, objective journalism here.

Lastly, really enjoying the 20 year recap spots. #4 this time around was a pleasure to read. Humanistic insight into the draft that I’d never considered.

Kudos!

Morgan
Morgan
6 years ago

Manziel changed right before draft as well. What you see from Winston isn’t necessarily what you’ll see from Winston after draft day. Mark my words.

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