There is always much debate on whether or not Jameis Winston is truly a franchise quarterback for the Bucs. The discussion is baffling. Does he make mistakes? Absolutely. Does he have lots to learn? You betcha. But fans quickly forget how not too long ago the team had Josh McCown and Mike Glennon under center.
Despite Winston’s flaws, the 24-year-old has managed to break some records. He has the most touchdowns by any NFL quarterback before the age of 24 (69), the most passing yards by any NFL quarterback before the age of 24 (11,636), and is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in his first two NFL season. If it weren’t for a shoulder injury, He may have gotten a third season with 4,000 yards.
And as a reminder, he obtained those statistical milestones throwing to guys like Adam Humphries, Donteea Dye, and Freddie Martino.
But there are people that recognize Winston’s game. Former front office executive and now NFL Media Analyst Gil Brandt put together a list of quarterbacks selected in the first round of the past five years and ranked Winston second.
Generally speaking, Winston is the most polished pocket passer on this list. A lack of consistency and erratic ball security are the two main factors keeping him from sustained excellence in the NFL. One week, he’ll throw for 375 yards, and you’ll get excited. And then the next week, he’ll put up 150 yards with a handful of turnovers. I think Winston just has to learn to not take as many chances and to force the ball less. I’d also like to see him be a bigger running threat. That said, he was further hampered by the lack of a real rushing attack in Tampa. If some semblance of a ground game can be assembled, the other pieces are in place -- including one of the best receivers in the NFL in Mike Evans, plus DeSean Jackson, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard -- for Winston to really break out in 2018.
This is an honest assessment of Winston’s pro career to date and even Brandt points out Winston’s struggles while still placing him in second place. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz was ranked first while Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota was third.
This upcoming season can be big for Winston and Tampa Bay. We’ll see if the young franchise quarterback can help continue improving an already TOP 10 offense.