Back in 2015, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Jameis Winston the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. A team that has never had a true franchise quarterback since coming into existence in 1976, the Buccaneers believed they had finally found their guy that would make them perennial Super Bowl contenders. Sadly, Winston has been anything but.
The Fall of Former First Overall Pick Jameis Winston
Since being drafted in 2015, Winston leads the league in interceptions (61) and fumbles lost (18). Turnovers are nothing foreign to Winston though, as he threw 28 interceptions during his two-year stint with the Florida State Seminoles. Say what you want when it comes to evaluating college signal-callers, one thing that typically never changes is a quarterback’s tendency to turn the ball over. Winston has certainly been no exception to this anecdote.
Turnovers aside, the other main issue regarding Jameis Winston has been simply winning games. The Buccaneers have finished last in their division three out of the four years of Winston’s tenure. While some blame can be put on the dysfunction of the Tampa Bay organization and their inability to consistently draft well, most of it has to fall on Winston’s shoulders. He’s had a top five wide receiver in Mike Evans since entering the league, and even had DeSean Jackson to throw the ball to for the last two seasons. While Winston has shown the occasional flash of excellence, those moments have been few and far between.
After not having his fifth-year option picked up, Jameis Winston has to be well aware that the 2019 season could quite possibly be his last year as a starter in the NFL. Many thought that the off-season hiring of offensive guru Bruce Arians at head coach would be the saving grace for Winston and his career. That chatter quickly ceased after Winston’s abysmal Week 1 performance against the San Francisco 49ers. In what’s supposed to be a prove-it year for Winston, he may have essentially sealed his fate after the first game of the season. I’m now thoroughly convinced that this won’t just be Winston’s last year as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his last year as an NFL starter overall.
That’s not to say that he’ll be out of the league like Johnny Manziel. Jameis Winston still has a tremendous amount of arm talent, and that alone will allow him to have a long career as a backup quarterback in this league. Look for him to get the Ryan Tannehill treatment and sign with a team that has a questionable situation at quarterback. A team like the Cincinnati Bengals or Detroit Lions could be a good fit for the former number one overall pick; low pressure and minimal expectations.
Certainly a significant fall from grace for the former number one overall pick. It’s sad to see, especially considering how much Jameis Winston has appeared to mature over the last few years. Don’t worry though Buccaneers fans, your franchise isn’t the only one that whiffed on a franchise quarterback that year; Marcus Mariota will shortly follow suit.
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