With the first pick of the 2015 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. The team, coming off a 2-14 season in which poor quarterback play contributed greatly to their record, decided to overlook Winston’s off-field problems in the hope that he can become the franchise quarterback they’ve never really had.
Before losing earlier this year in the college playoffs, Winston was 27-0 as a starter for the Seminoles, and a year before — in his freshman season — he was the recipient of the Heisman Trophy for being the best player in college football. He also led his school to the national title that year.
Few, though, question Winston’s skills, and he could have an immediate impact in the notoriously weak NFL South, especially with weapons such as Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. He has already shown himself to be a quick learner and he could only be an improvement over last year’s starter Josh McCown, but he will have to reverse a trend of terrible quarterbacking that has been a hallmark of the franchise since its inception in 1976. Even Super Bowl winners such as Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer and Steve Young achieved most of their success after leaving Tampa Bay.
It’s safe to say that all eyes will be on the young man from Bessemer, Alabama when the Buccaneers open their season at home against the Tennessee Titans September 13.