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Lovie Smith feels comfortable with "who Jameis Winston is"

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are near-universally believed to be set to take Jameis Winston with the number one overall pick tonight. And the reason for that is simple: the Bucs believe that they can trust the best quarterback in the 2015 NFL draft to behave off the field, as well as on it. Lovie Smith told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times as much:

"We feel comfortable who Jameis Winston is, what he's done and what we think he will do in the future as much as anything,'' Smith said. "We would not bring in a player that we didn't feel like we could handle or be a productive part of society and our football team. Our research shows that he can do that.''

Despite a rape accusation, for which Winston was never criminally charged, and despite a litany of minor off-field issues generally characterized as immaturity, the Bucs believe the quarterback is not a bad person, and that he will grow out of his immaturity. The hundreds of hours the team poured into dissecting Winston's past and background have led them to that conclusion.

Stroud notes two other reasons why the Bucs believe Winston should be the pick. One is his similarity to Tom Brady: both are limited athletes, but quality pocket passers with similar personalities and dispositions. The other is offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian, who, as Stroud writes, "the Bucs believe [..] will mold Winston into the kind of pocket passer that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan became during Koetter's time in Atlanta."

And that's why the Bucs will draft Winston, barring a last-minute trade: because they trust him on the field, and off the field.