Duke University’s victory over the University of Wisconsin on Monday night marked the end of March Madness. Now it’s time to switch channels and attention to the upcoming 2015 NFL draft. If you’re a football fan, you have probably heard of him already. But in case you haven’t, let’s talk about Jameis Winston.
“BCS National Championship MVP” and “youngest Heisman trophy winner” are just some of the titles associated with Winston. As a student at Florida State University, Winston led the Seminoles to their BCS National Championship win in 2014. He left college in 2015 to pursue his career in the NFL. Winston had dazzling stats in his college football career. He averaged 295 passing yards and 2.4 passing touchdowns per game, taking the highest spot among other quarterbacks in the NCCA. Winston also holds several records; he has the most completions and touchdown passes in the history of FSU football. Winston has supreme confidence in his abilities — he thrives on competition and plays with passion.
Many say that Winston is the best prospect of this year’s NFL draft, and many consider him the most pro-ready quarterback in his class. However, I doubt that he is ready to compete at a professional level. I can’t deny the fact that he has very good reflexes and arm strength. He remained very sharp on the field, and he has a beautiful throw curve, which gives him a lot of room to work with his receivers.
During the scouting combine, however, many of Winston’s weaknesses emerged. As a young quarterback, he wasn’t able to move swiftly like others do. He finished the 40-yard dash with 4.97 seconds — this is still considerably fast, but is he fast enough to manage the pocket and dodge the incoming defensive players? That’s something that prospective teams should consider. Winston’s footwork is also a problem. It took him 7.16 seconds to finish the 3-cone drill. Marcus Mariota, Winston’s main competitor, took only 6.8 seconds. Winston also has vertical jump and board jump stats that are below average.
It is true that Winston has the ability to make all the throws that he wants. However, when aging becomes a problem for him, Winston will probably have to consider ending his career earlier than a normal quarterback. His superb ability to throw can compensate the route of the receiver, but it doesn’t help him to escape the defense and scramble out of the crowd. In order to become a successful quarterback in the NFL, Winston will have to do a lot of work on his pocket management and create chemistry with his teammates to make sure that he is protected all the time.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the first pick in the 2015 draft, have already scheduled a workout with Winston to get to know his playing style. It seems almost certain that the Buccaneers have settled on Winston, and the next two weeks are just for making sure that Winston doesn’t do anything to change their mind. Winston will surely become the first drafted quarterback in his class. But if he wants to stay in the league and make a name for himself, there’s still a lot of training to do.