- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Time for a look at what we're seeing and hearing about what the Buccaneers might do with the No. 1 overall draft pick.
It's very early in the process, and much will depend on what happens at the scouting combine, pro days and individual interviews. But the early indicators are that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the favorite -- for now.
I've heard that coach Lovie Smith prefers Winston over Oregon's Marcus Mariota. When Smith chose Dirk Koetter as the Bucs' offensive coordinator over Marc Trestman, the logic was simple. Although Smith and Trestman have similar philosophies about how to run an offense, they disagreed on the quarterbacks. Trestman preferred Mariota.
Smith favors Winston and Smith is the boss. There is lots of logic behind Smith's preference.
Mariota spent his college career running a spread offense. Winston ran a pro-style offense. Both fared well, but there isn't much room for comparison.
At Florida State, Winston ran an offense that is at least somewhat similar to what the Bucs run. The offense Mariota ran looked nothing like that, and the only comparable NFL offense is what the Philadelphia Eagles run.
The Bucs still have to do plenty of homework on Winston off the field. He comes with some red flags. But if the Bucs are looking for a quarterback who fits their current style of offense, Winston has a big edge.
Early on, the Buccaneers appear to be leaning toward Jameis Winston.