- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter
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BRISTOL, Conn. -- I’m at ESPN headquarters, where I participated in the NFL Nation mock draft Monday.
In mock draft scenarios, you generally have two choices: You can go with what you think the team will do or you can go with what you think the team should do.
I didn’t have to choose between those scenarios because I thought Winston fit both categories. Here’s why.
Let’s start with why I think the Bucs will go with Winston. The Bucs have been very transparent throughout the pre-draft process. They have been very public, putting video of Winston’s visit to One Buccaneer Place on the team’s official website.
They did the same thing with Marcus Mariota, but unless the Bucs have taken smokescreens to a new level, it’s been obvious Winston is the favorite. The Bucs have said all sorts of nice things about Winston.
Again, they’ve done the same with Mariota. But if the Bucs had wanted to put distance between themselves and Winston, they could have been less public and less complimentary.
Every sign the Bucs have put out has pointed to Winston.
Now, let’s move on to why I think the Bucs should select Winston. It’s simple: I think Winston is the best quarterback in the draft. More important, he’s the quarterback who is the most ready for the NFL -- on the field. Winston played in a pro-style offense in college. Mariota played in a spread system at Oregon, and it could take him a long time to make the transition.
No opinion on Winston would be complete without mention of his history of off-field incidents, including a sexual-assault allegation (no criminal charges were filed). Sure, the off-field stuff is a concern, especially when you’re talking about someone who instantly will become the face of the franchise.
I don’t know as much about Winston’s past as the Bucs do. The team has done tons of homework on him. If the Bucs are comfortable with Winston’s background, then they should take him.
ESPN NFL Nation reporter Pat Yasinskas picked Jameis Winston No. 1 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL Nation mock draft.