Rookie Player Profile: Jameis Winston

Doug Green


Height – 6’4”
Weight – 231 pounds
Hands – 9 ⅜”
Arm length – 32”
40-yard dash – 4.97 seconds
3-cone drill – 7.16 seconds
20-yard shuttle – 4.36 seconds
Vertical jump – 28.5”
Broad jump – 103”

Video Highlights

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Most people consider Winston to be the most pro-ready quarterback to come out of college since Andrew Luck. He played in a pro-style system at Florida State, surrounded by NFL-level talent on both sides of the ball. That means even in practice he facing pro-level talent every day. He has the arm to make all the required NFL throws with both accuracy and touch. He is a charismatic and endearing leader. Winston’s ability to read defenses is advanced for someone coming out of college. He has a good feel for the rush, but no one will mistake him for a scrambling quarterback. Seems to shine brightest in big moments, such as end of games. Winston led more than a handful of come-from-behind victories last season. He was also the 2013 Heisman trophy winner.


Most of the talk surrounding Winston leading up the draft was about his poor off-field decision making. He was suspended one game for shouting obscenities in the cafeteria and had sexual assault allegations filed against him that were later dismissed. He also got into trouble for shoplifting from a local grocery store. This all could be a lack of maturity, as Winston declared himself for the draft following his redshirt sophomore season.

On the field his biggest critics pointed to a long throwing motion as a potential problem, but that is a side effect of his baseball career, where he was a pitcher, and reports out of OTAs say that he has shortened it since the end of last season. He also threw 18 interceptions in 2014 against only 25 touchdowns. While being an emotional leader is one of his strengths, that emotion can get the best of him at times, particularly when things are not going his way.

Winston only lost two games on the collegiate level. It will be interesting to see how he handles adversity, particularly a prolonged losing streak at the NFL level.


Winston was the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and will be starter Week 1. He finds himself in a good situation with plenty of tall receiving talent. Veteran wideout Vincent Jackson is the elder statesman of a group that includes second-year players Mike Evans and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. While the Buccaneers have done a good job building up talent in the past two drafts, they were still picking first overall for reason. Expect Winston to be throwing early and often as Tampa Bay will trailing frequently in an NFC South division that full of offensive talent.

The running game appears unsettled at this point, with reports having Charles Sims and Doug Martin battling it out for the starter’s spot in the backfield. If one of those two can seize the spot and provide Tampa Bay with some semblance of ball control, this will help ease Winston’s transition into the NFL and maybe buy the Bucs an extra win or two.


Much like fellow rookie Marcus Mariota, Winston have very little competition for the starter’s job. Former starter Mike Glennon is still on the roster, but Head Coach Lovie Smith has made it plain by his actions that he is not interested in Glennon being in charge of the offense. Most likely Winston’s biggest threat to his career is himself. If he runs afoul of the law again or simply can not conform to team rules, something he struggled with at Florida State, the coaching staff may not have any choice but to bench him. With his talent though, Winston will be given every chance to produce, especially in the early going.

Short-term expectations

Most scouts and dynasty players think Winston will produce quality numbers from Day 1, thanks to both his college experience and the weapons he has around him. I too am optimistic for his passing numbers. However, if the running back job is nothing but a revolving door, that could spell trouble. The Bucs passing game should be quite good, but if there is no respect for the run, defenses can simply sit back in coverage or blitz a rookie quarterback to death.

Long-term expectations

The combination of Winston, Evans and Sefarian-Jenkins is an enticing thought looking ahead for the next several years. Those three should form a core that will contend in the NFC South while Drew Brees and Matt Ryan head into the back end of their careers. If Winston can keep his head on straight, he should in line for a very bright NFL career.

NFL Comparison

The name you hear associated the most for Winston is Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, for both body type and off-field incidents. Both are large men that are hard to bring down, though the Steelers quarterback is more elusive than Winston. I think ultimately that is the best comparison for the Bucs rookie QB.’s Lance Zierlein compared Winston to the Giants’ Eli Manning, which may have been predicated in part on the big interception numbers this past season.

Rookie draft expectations

Winston’s current ADP is No. 12 overall, putting him right on the first/second round border. In most of my rookie drafts I have seen him go more towards the middle of the second round, but he is always the first quarterback off the board, often just one spot before Mariota. If you are quarterback needy, I could see him being drafted at the 1.10, but the upper second round is probably the best spot for him.


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