As the draft process continues, we're going to see all of the prospects picked apart. And that includes the top two quarterbacks. So far it's been fairly mild for Jameis Winston, but that's about to change now that Ron Jaworski and Greg Cosell have become involved.
"I've studied a lot of him, I think Jameis Winston has a big upside in the NFL, but there are some real flaws to his game," Jaworski said. "Quite honestly, I would not take him at that No. 1 pick. I'm not talking about the off-the-field stuff. I have no comment on that because I'm not privy to that kind of information. But there are certainly mechanical flaws in his game that are troubling to me."
Now that's all a bit vague and not too useful for analysis. Not so with Greg Cosell, who went on Ross Tucker's podcast again to talk about quarterbacks, and he was a lot less impressed with Winston than he was last time.
"I've watched a lot more of Winston since we spoke last week, and the more I watch him, the more I saw flaws. We know the quarterbacks are going to be drafted high, Winston and Mariota, that's likely to happen. But I think Winston has a lot of flaws that concern me, and I'm talking about flaws on film not the other stuff. It was interesting to me that the more I watched him, the less I liked him.
"Well the two main flaws are his decision-making within the context of his offense, and that's the only way you can judge it. Last week we talked about Mariota mastering his offense, and Winston was not a very good decision-maker within the context of his offense. And the other thing is his accuracy is very erratic.
"He's an interesting thrower, Ross, because he holds the ball perfectly when he drops back, but then he drops the ball down before he throws it. He has kind of a little loop in his throw. And then he drops he the ball down and then he has to raise it back up as he brings his arm back, and oftentimes that leads to high throws. So my guess is that's the way he throws. I'm not sure you can change that. So his accuracy tends to be a little inconsistent and a little erratic.
"And I think when you talk about decision-making and ball placement, I think those are two really important issues as you transition a quarterback to the NFL."
One worthwhile thing to note is that Winston had largely eliminated that loop in his throwing motion at the scouting combine, and that loop has been blamed on his baseball work. Now, those mechanical tweaks do tend to regress when players get into games -- Tim Tebow spent ages improving his mechanics, but every time he'd get into a game, he'd just regress. It's hard to beat an entire lifetime of mechanical movement -- but that doesn't mean it's impossible, either: Aaron Rodgers famously improved his mechanics.
Now, Cosell and Jaworski are usually really critical of quarterbacks as draft prospects anyway, so this is not a death-knell to Winston's status as one of the best quarterback prospects ever. But it is a good indication that he is far from a flawless prospect, and that there's no certainty that he'll translate to the NFL.
Now, that's not news. No quarterback is a sure thing. Number one picks bust about half the time, including quarterbacks. The issues with Winston's decision-making and accuracy are real, and they are pretty obvious when you watch him play. The question is: is that enough to pass on him? It wouldn't be if he were the only realistic quarterback candidate for the first overall pick.