The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and former Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston first overall in the 2015 NFL draft on April 30.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in the 2015 NFL draft on April 30.
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According to Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official website, Winston's selection comes as no surprise. Various football experts have put him atop their respective draft boards for months, and now their hunch has proven to be correct.
Smith stresses Tampa Bay chose Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy Winner as the quarterback of the Florida State Seminioles, for "the enormous impact he is expected to have on the team's future."
In other words, the Buccaneers hope Winston will make a tremendous impact on their team inasmuch as legends like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Troy Aikman and John Elway made on their respective clubs, per Buccaneers.com.
Tampa Bay's choice boiled down to Winston and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and former Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota. ESPN's Pat Yasinskas says Winston had the edge because he led a pro-style offense with the Seminoles whereas Mariota was more accustomed to a spread offense with the Ducks.
The Tennessee Titans chose Mariota with the No. 2 overall pick, per ESPN.
The ESPN update states Winston is now the second quarterback the Buccaneers have drafted No. 1 overall in franchise history, following former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Vinny Testaverde in 1987.
Winston told Yasinskas he looks forward to making an impact as soon as he dons a Bucs helmet for the first time:
"I've got to work. Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have heard. It's about your actions.
"Whatever is in the past is in the past. I look forward to gaining everyone's trust."
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht brushed off any effect Winston's past off-field issues may have on the team, per Yasinskas:
"If he wasn't a good guy, we wouldn't have used the first pick on him.
"When we were doing the exhaustive process that we went through, not only were we comfortable with him and his character, we were confident with his character. We think that his character that he brings to the locker room and the building is a strength.
"That's one of the things that makes him a great player.
"He's a champion. He's a leader. He's a winner. He's got tremendous football character and tremendous intelligence and work ethic. His work ethic was one thing that really put him over the top for us, combined with his leadership and his 'it' factor, as well as his ability on the field.
"We're so excited to get a guy like Jameis to be our future, start a new era. Any time you get an opportunity to get a franchise quarterback that we believe are very confident is a franchise quarterback, it excites you."
Winston was accused of sexual assault in Dec. 2012 but was never charged, per Yasinskas. He's also had other minor off-field incidents, but the Buccaneers feel he is worth it.
For this, Winston said he owes his gratitude to the Tampa Bay organization, per ESPN:
"I've been cleared six times. I've been cleared six times on the situation. So I took that situation so seriously. But, at the end of the day, I've got to keep moving forward. That's why I'm so thankful right now.
"I continue to thank the Glazers (the Buccaneers' owners), continue to thank Mr. Licht and continue to thank [Buccaneers] coach [Lovie] Smith for believing in me."
Joe Kanla of the Buccaneers' official website says Winston will wear jersey No. 3 for Tampa Bay.
Winston was a two-sport star at FSU, as he was also a pitcher for its men's baseball team. As the Seminoles' starting quarterback, he finished with a 26-1 record and led them to the 2013 national title, per The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud.
Winston threw for 7,964 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions on a 163.3 passer rating in two seasons at Florida State University, per Sports-Reference.com.
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