NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans Online's series of potential first-round draft picks rolls on with the other top quarterback in the 2015 draft class.
We took a look at Oregon's Marcus Mariota over the weekend, but now it's time to analyze Florida State QB Jameis Winston. Much like Mariota, Winston will be one of the most scrutinized prospects at next week's combine. His question marks, however, are completely different.
Here's what Bleacher Report's lead NFL Draft writer Matt Miller had to say about Winston.
Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)**
From a football perspective, it's hard to find a more impressive two-year career than what Winston put together during his time as a Seminole.
Winston only lost a single game in two years as Florida State's signal caller, racking up 7,964 career passing yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. His redshirt freshman campaign in 2013 made Winston an instant top NFL prospect.
Winston's 2013 season saw him complete 257-of-384 passes for 4,057 yards, 40 TDs and 10 interceptions. His accolades included a Heisman Trophy, a consensus All-American selection, the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year award and much more. The honors came on the heels of a perfect 14-0 season, capped by a 34-31 win over Auburn in the National Championship. Winston threw for 237 yards, two touchdowns, no picks and a game-winning drive in the final minute to beat the Tigers.
His junior season in 2014 was less stellar – 305-of-467 passing for 3,907 yards, 25 TDs and 18 interceptions. Regardless, Winston led numerous fourth quarter comebacks, helping the Seminoles remain unbeaten until the semifinal game against the Oregon Ducks.
Many NFL draft experts project Winston as the first overall pick to the Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL Draft, including ESPN's Todd McShay.
Strengths: A 'Pro Ready' Talent
Miller:** "You have to start with the fact that he is pro ready. The offense that he ran at Florida State, he could run that in the NFL. Obviously the terminology would be a bit different, but the throws would be the same – the timing, what he did under center and in the pocket. I think he's ready to step in and play right away which helps.
"He's big, he's strong, the arm strength is there and his field vision is there. Athletically, he can make plays out of the pocket, he can step up in the pocket and he's hard to bring down. When you talk about poise, he threw 18 interceptions this season and they only lost one game. He has the ability to separate mistakes. Like how Tom Brady threw two early interceptions in the Super Bowl, but when he needed points in the fourth quarter, he was confident, poised and comfortable. Winston has those qualities, too, where he can put away mistakes and dominate."
It is worth noting that both Winston and Mariota gain significant value in this year's draft as the drop-off is widely considered substantial after the top two signal-callers. That also means there should be a significant trade market with teams looking to move up in the draft.
Miller: "Because the quarterback class is so thin, if you don't get Winston or Mariota, what are you going to do? If you need a quarterback and you're betting on a rookie because the free agent class isn't very strong either, then you're in trouble if you don't get one of those two guys. That definitely increases their value and it puts teams in an interesting position. "
Needs to Show: Dominate Combine Interviews**
Winston's propensity for making headlines off the field is what will continue to be one of the hottest topics leading up to the draft. The combine will serve as the first opportunity for NFL execs to sit down and grill Winston about his off-the-field troubles. Dominating the interviews will be crucial for Winston's draft stock.
Miller: "This is super important for Jameis Winston because he's going to be asked, in very blunt ways, about the off-field issues. Some of it is just stupid kid stuff but some of it is really important. He could go first overall, or who knows depending on what teams find in his background. How well he passes that character evaluation will be very important."
NFL Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)
Miller: "I compare him to Ben Roethlisberger. I think in terms of size and even playing style, that gun-slinger mentality, but he's so big and hard to bring down. In terms of athleticism and arm strength I think they're pretty similar guys."