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Jameis Winston got really lucky with his interceptions last year

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v St Louis Rams Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Jameis Winston threw 15 interceptions last year. That was a pretty low total for a rookie who started the season with seven interceptions in four games, and came into the NFL with a lot of questions about his propensity for risky throws and missing players in underneath coverage. 15 was a low number, and casual observation suggests Winston should have thrown many more.

Football Outsiders’ charting certainly suggests this is true: they noticed seven dropped interceptions last year, which is tied for third-most with Carson Palmer. Only Blake Bortles and Ryan Fitzpatrick got luckier than Winston, and he would have ended up with a fairly disastrous 3.9% interception rate and a total of 22 picks.

Of course, interceptions are relatively rare occurrences, and rookies almost always throw more of them than they should. Winston’s 22 projected interceptions aren’t out of line for even very good rookies, especially the kinds of rookie quarterbacks who tend to make riskier throws — which also generally makes them more productive than average, as Winston was.

I’d also be interested to see when those dropped interceptions occurred. As noted, nearly half of Winston’s actual interceptions came in the first four games. I’d expect most of the dropped interceptions to have occurred during that period as well, which would suggest this is an issue he fixed after week four.

Regardless of when those dropped picks occurred, though, Winston’s working hard to reduce his overly risky throws. We’ll see whether that works once the regular season starts.