The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done what everyone expected them to do: pick Jameis Winston with the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft to start a new era in Tampa Bay history. Winston will be tasked with leading the Bucs out of the NFL basement, where they've resided for most of the past 15 years.
The Florida State prospect is widely seen as the best quarterback in the draft, although that assessment is not quite universal. His pocket presence, ability to throw with anticipation, football intelligence and experience in a pro-style system set him apart from other prospects, and specifically Marcus Mariota. He's not the athlete Mariota is, but he's a much better fit for the traditional dropback system the Bucs are expected to implement, and that's the kind of system that has been consistently successful in the NFL. This scouting report gives a great view of what Bucs fans can expect out of their new quarterback.
The Bucs have a putrid history of drafting quarterbacks, never having given any of them a second contract. Whether late or early, every one of those players turned out to be a bust. But the Bucs have only used the number one overall pick on a quarterback once before: on Vinny Testaverde, way back in 1987. The team is looking to finally change that trend, which makes today's pick historic -- another chance to finally get that quarterback who can single-handedly turn around the franchise. And this time, it looks like the Bucs have a good shot at doing so.
In just two years as a starting quarterback, Winston completed 66% of his passes for 7,964 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 163.3. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2013 after his team went undefeated and they were crowned National Champions. In 2014, Florida State went 13-1, with Jameis Winston's only loss of his college career coming against the Oregon Ducks in the college football playoffs. That's as impressive as a college career as I've ever seen.
Winston isn't without his blemishes, though. His 18 interceptions last year are an area for concern, as he frequently missed defenders in underneath coverage. He also has some mechanical imperfections to work on, but none of that is scary enough to sway the Bucs or most analysts from seeing him as the best quarterback in the draft, and arguably the best prospect not named Andrew Luck of the past decade.
More concerning is Winston's off-field behavior. A series of minor incidents has been written off as immaturity by the Buccaneers and others, although immaturity is hardly ideal in a quarterback. Still, the Bucs don't think that will be a problem going forward, and they and several players have already talked about setting up a support system to help their new quarterback. In addition to those issues of immaturity, Winston has also been accused of rape, an issue that has played out very publicly since 2013. He was never criminally charged, but now faces a civil suit.
#Bucs talked to more than 75 people, more than 100 man hours looking into Jameis Winston’s past. They are confident in him as a person.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 1, 2015
Still, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have repeatedly emphasized that they are comfortable with Jameis Winston as the face of their franchise, which is exactly what he'll be. For better or worse, the Bucs have tied their future to a quarterback. And where he goes, this team goes. The Bucs now have the best quarterback prospect to enter the draft since Andrew Luck. They have a real shot at changing the franchise's future. Are you excited, Tampa Bay?
Stay with us the rest of the night as we cover the rest of the draft. The Buccaneers could easily trade back up into the first round for an offensive lineman, and we'll have more coverage of Jameis Winston over the next hours. Otherwise, we'll be back tomorrow with day two of the draft. You can keep up with the 2015 NFL draft results with SB Nation's live tracker.