The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on track to take Jameis Winston, but it's not a done deal yet. Specifically, the Bucs could still pick Marcus Mariota -- and Mariota has some sponsors inside One Buc Place, according to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah who said as much on his latest Move The Sticks podcast.
Here's the transcript, from JoeBucsFan.
"In the draft meeting, it's almost like, you've seen the The Hunger Games, right? So you talk about how you need sponsors; Woody Harrelson's character talks about sponsors when you're in the Hunger Games. When you're a player in a draft, you need sponsors in the draft room," Jeremiah explained. "You gotta have somebody that's fighting for you. And I've just been told there's people inside Tampa's draft room, be it coaches, personnel guys, Marcus Mariota has some sponsors in there.
"He has some people that are Team Mariota. Put it that way. So I think there's definitely some Jameis Winston support at the high levels. But I think there's some love there for Marcus Mariota. So I don't think that's as done as everybody thinks it is."
That's not overly surprising, and it would explain why most reports are still hedging on whether or not the Bucs are really sold on Winston, but it is interesting. As per usual, we won't know the truth until the pick is actually in. There are rumors they could trade down, but I'm not buying that. Leonard Williams isn't really in play either. But while Winston has the lead, Mariota could still catch up. As I've said several times over the past week, the 30 hours each player is going to spend one-on-one with the Bucs are going to be crucial, here.
Update: Gil Arcia of The Bay Cave reports that Lovie Smith and Jason Licht are not the ones sponsoring Mariota.