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2015 NFL Draft Grades: grading Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston is the Bucs' latest QB of the future - but was it a good decision?

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As was obviously signposted by the Bucs predicted for weeks, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is #1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, and is now the young player on whom the fate of the Buccaneers franchise rests, at least for the next few seasons, if not for significantly longer. So, as inevitable as the Winston picks was, so too is the inevitable draft grade. There's a few factors that are important to consider when deciding what grade to give this selection.

Firstly, there's Winston as a prospect in and of himself, and he grades out pretty highly there, at least in terms of on-the-field. With a 27-1 record, a Heisman trophy and a national championship under his belt, Winston is definitely the most 'pro-ready' quarterback in this draft class, and all reports in the offseason have been in praise of his football intelligence.

Of course, you can't ignore the off-field incidents with Winston. Regardless of your thoughts on any of the individual incidents, what is harder to argue against is that they combine to become a pattern of, at the very least, poor decision making. Yes, Derrick Brooks (amongst others) have stated that they would mentor Winston if he was the pick, but the flipside is that when your face of the franchise (as any QB drafted #1 overall will inevitably be) needs mentoring in his personal life, that's an undoubted red flag.

Still, you need to look at the wider context: when you take Winston as a whole, the pros and the cons, and put in the context of the Bucs situation, you have to wonder what else they could have done. To not take a QB with the first overall pick would have been an egregious act in today's NFL, and when it comes to on-the-field production and performance, Winston is the best prospect at the position. He's far from the perfect prospect - but the Bucs didn't really have much of an option.

Ultimately, the 2011 CBA has made it easier than ever for teams to move on from bad picks. If Winston can reverse the pattern of poor decision making that has led to his personal life coming under scrutiny, then he has the tools to become a true franchise quarterback. If he proves all his doubters correct, however, the Bucs could draft a replacement in another two seasons or so without much of a financial hit. This is not a 2010 Rams situation, where Sam Bradford's subsequent injuries held that franchise back for five years; the risk is relatively minimal compared to what it used to be. All those factors lead to me giving the Winston pick the grade I've given.

Draft grade: B+