The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to draft Jameis Winston, if the draftnik community is to be believed. This is almost a foregone conclusion now, and the consensus is so strong that you have to look really, really hard to find any mock draft that doesn't have Winston going number one overall. With just a month to go until the draft, such a strong consensus almost never changes -- and unless something shocking happens, we can assume Winston is the team's new quarterback.
That's what Todd McShay thinks, too, in his latest mock draft.
In deciding whether or not to use the No. 1 overall pick on Winston, the Bucs are going to have to evaluate him from an off-field perspective. Are they comfortable enough with his past behavior and his maturity level to make him the face of their franchise? At the moment it seems like the answer is yes, as co-chairman Joel Glazer said last week that he'd approve of either Winston or Marcus Mariota as the No. 1 overall pick. I think Mariota is still a possibility to be selected here, but purely from an on-field standpoint, I think Winston has a clear advantage. He is one of the best QB prospects to enter the league in the last 10 years in terms of the skills that translate to NFL success, including reading defenses, anticipating throws and delivering the ball accurately.
McShay isn't the only one who thinks the Bucs go with Winston. Dan Kadar's latest mock draft has Winston going number one, too. Intriguingly, both McShay and Kadar have Mariota going number two -- that's quickly becoming consensus too, suggesting that Mariota's seen as a likely franchise passer, too.
Every prospect carries risks, and there's no such thing as a certain franchise quarterback, but Winston comes close -- as close as anyone since Andrew Luck, really. And the Bucs can't pass that up, even with a series of minor off-field issues along with a major rape accusation, although investigations have never found Winston to be guilty of the latter. The Bucs have repeatedly implied that those issues are not a problem for them, either by talking about second chances or by calling Winston immature, but not a bad guy. And immaturity can be fixed, they think.
Winston is the Bucs' new quarterback, unless something new surfaces over the next month.