The No. 1 overall pick will always battle again outsized expectations. But Jameis Winston will face more scrutiny than any rookie in recent history. His exceptional talent may only be outweighed by the baggage that accompanied his arrival in Tampa. By now, America is well-versed in Winston's tumultuous college career, both on and off the field. His rookie season could diverge one of two ways: Winston could demonstrate poise and maturity, show flashes of on-field greatness (besides his physical abilities, teams gushed about Winston's game acumen through the draft process) and lift a franchise desperate for a return to respectability. With All-Pro-caliber receivers in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, Winston's debut could be as impressive as Andrew Luck's in 2012 or Matt Ryan's in 2008. Or, Winston could fumble yet again. One more off-the-field incident could spell the end of his tenure as a franchise quarterback. And his coach (Lovie Smith), general manager (Jason Licht) and offensive coordinator (Dirk Koetter) could be collateral damage. So, Famous Jameis, which is it going to be?
There's also the very real possibility that Winston flounders off the field, but wows on the field. That, after all, is what he did at Florida State. And if that occurs the Bucs will face a real conundrum -- depending on the severity of his off-field floundering. Crab legs and . Anything related to sexual assault less so.
So far, they've been very supportive of Winston, regardless of what he does. When he posted a picture of himself eating crab legs after the draft, they defended him -- rightly so, I'd say. Not a peep was heard from Bucs brass when his opening a car door for Draya Michele turned into a minor thing.
Those two incidents were extremely minor and more a result of the incredible level of scrutiny Winston is under than his own wrongdoing, but they're indicative of what we're going to get: every little thing is going to be magnified threefold, and discussed for quite some time, warranted or not. I don't think Winston will be able to avoid all of that, no matter how hard he tries. Players have lives outside of football, as they should, and no one escapes the eye of the paparazzi when they're as famous as Jameis.