Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) looks to pass in the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game against the Oregon Ducks at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jameis Winston, Florida State
2014 stats: 3,907 yards, 25 TDs, 18 INTs
Before I get to Winston’s on the field notes, I should note that I’m not a proponent of the Broncos taking him where I think his talent says he should go. That said, it’s hard to quantify off the field issues (and injury issues) when you’re not working for an NFL team or have NFL sources. So when grading players like Winston, I don’t take into account his off the field problems. At the same time, it’s enough for me to not want the Broncos to take him.
With that said, he is quite talented on the football field. His best asset is his arm. Like Mariota, he has enough arm strength to be an efficient passer to all parts of the field. Unlike Mariota, he has an elongated release that will tip off defenders and give them a longer time to react. This caused many mistakes over the middle by Winston. This problem is compounded by his lack of awareness of linebackers and/or safeties in the middle of the field.
Winston has big size and has good improvisational skills, making him hard to bring down. He’s unfazed by a lot of pressure and doesn’t usually panic.
While Winston has a good upper body, his lower body almost works by itself and not in unison; in other words, it’s a mess. Now, his feet don’t have to be perfect, but he does need to start leaning more toward where he’s throwing. A lot of his misses come high as a result of not stepping through his throws.
The bottom line is Winston is a gunslinger, which isn’t a bad thing, but forcing passes into tight spaces with an elongated motion gives the defender more time to jump on the ball. He’ll make some bone-headed decision, but he’ll also pull off some brilliant plays.
PROJECTION: Late 1st round