clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Buccaneers knew they were taking Jameis Winston a month ago

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers knew for a long time that they were going to pick Jameis Winston. Peter King revealed on Monday that general manager Jason Licht had been interested in Winston as far back as his redshirt freshman season, while Lovie Smith fell in love during the college football playoff game against Oregon. And yesterday, Licht went on Sirus XM NFL radio with Rich Gannon and Bruce Murray, and the general manager said that the Bucs knew they were taking Winston for the past month.

"We wanted to make sure that this was a consensus," Licht said. "That this quarterback or this player walking in the door was gonna have the backing of the entire organization, and everybody that mattered from a football standpoint in coaches and scouting and all that and even ownership. About a month prior the draft we had decided that okay, everybody's on board and this is everybody's guy."

That decision didn't come easy, as the Bucs interviewed at least 75 people on Jameis Winston's past -- though there are some question about the thoroughness of that investigation.

"We were gonna put a lot of time into and involve not just myself and Lovie, but also all of our scouts, our coaching staff, our coordinator, quarterbacks coach, it's just an insurmountable of work just to make sure we were able to check all the boxes, which we did."

Licht also confirmed that they expect Winston to start, but he still tried to temper expectations a little.

"I want to see Jameis play, he's gonna be expected to be the starter, want him to play within the system. I want to see him be productive, but I want to see, I think we all do, we just want to see gradual games and him continue to get better and better every week, every day.

"We're not expecting, you know, Dan Marino to come out here the first day, but we expect him just to come here to work, which he has a tremendous work ethic, second to none. Which helps the case and gives him a realistic chance of becoming a great player, a better chance than most because of his work ethic and his intelligence. But just to make strides every day.

You can listen to the interview below.