By: Steve DelVecchio
For several weeks now, Jameis Winston has seemed like a lock to be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft later this month. The ones in charge of making that decision may not be so sure.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, the off-field issues surrounding Winston are still weighing heavy on the minds of some Buccaneers officials.
“While the Bucs are still overwhelmingly expected to take Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, there is some thinking and consideration about Marcus Mariota and, ultimately, whether off-field issues regarding Winston will eventually push the Buccanneers to take Mariota instead of Winston,” Cole said Wednesday.
The Bucs held a private workout with Mariota on Tuesday and Winston on Wednesday. Cole added that it is hardly a coincidence that they scheduled the two workouts on consecutive days.
“What the Buccaneers are attempting to do is get as close a live look as they possibly can at both players on back-to-back days to make sure they have it fresh in their minds what these players look like, how they handle themselves, how they conduct themselves,” he said.
We know at least one former NFL quarterback does not think Winston should be the first player off the board at the draft. That said, Winston seems to be ahead of most players when it comes to understanding the mental part of the game. He has supposedly addressed several of the off-field concerns during meetings with NFL teams. Will a history of immature outbursts and sexual assault allegations be enough to make the Bucs lean toward Mariota? We’ll soon find out.