The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are pretty happy with Jameis Winston, and thoroughly impressed with his football IQ. Peter King in The MMQB recounted this little anecdote on the Bucs' interviews with Winston.
Back in the quarterback meeting room after lunch, Bajakian put tape of the plays they'd be installing on the big screen. What's your formation here, Jameis? The protection? Your route progression? Who's your hot receiver? Play after play, for 45 minutes they went through it. Winston remembered it all. Koetter has been coaching college and pro football since 1985. He is not a gee-whiz coach. Licht was blown away by Koetter's impression after that couple of hours with Winston. "I'm going to compare every guy I test like that the rest of my career to Jameis," Koetter told Licht.
That certainly sounds like the Jameis Winston we know. Every report on his meeting with teams describes the teams as thoroughly impressed with his ability to digest and understand information. There's every reason to be excited about Winston's on-field prowess this year, even if he's likely to throw a too many interceptions -- just as Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck did in their rookie years.
But the Bucs are aware of that. King recounts that when Winston said that he was not afraid to many any throw, Koetter told him "You need to be." Hopefully they can guide his Brett Favre-esque approach to passing into a more Peyton Manning-like result.
With smaller throwing windows at the NFL level, it'll be interesting to see how quickly Winston can adapt. Growing pains are always to be expected of rookies, especially rookie quarterbacks, but Winston's football intelligence may help him adapt more quickly than others.
Another curious detail from Peter King(he's just oozing information today): apparently Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet were offensive line coach George Warhop's two favorite players in this draft.
At the Senior Bowl, offensive line coach George Warhop told Licht his favorite two players were Smith and Marpet. At the combine, after Marpet ran a guard-best 4.98 40-yard dash, Licht texted one of the Bucs' owners in the Glazer family—desperate for news on how the quarterbacks looked in Indianapolis—with news on the passers. And he added: "By the way, our favorite player here is Ali Marpet."
I'm not sure whether that's actually a good thing: Warhop did bring Oniel Cousins to Tampa, after all. But it does mean that Warhop thinks he can coach up both of those players and get them to excel. Both of them face question marks: Smith's mostly on his work ethic, and Marpet as a result of the level of competition he faced in college, but their talent is certainly undeniable.