Having the first pick in the NFL Draft is a tricky situation. When the right player is in the draft class, it can be the greatest blessing a franchise could ever have. Just ask the Indianapolis Colts after having Andrew Luck fall into their lap a few years ago.
But when it goes wrong, the ramifications can be devastating to the fan base and the team (i.e. JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders).
This year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the privilege of drafting first and they certainly have plenty of holes to fill. They need to completely revamp the front-seven of their defense, after struggling to get any type of pass rush last season.
On offense, just about every position is up for grabs except receiver. So there are plenty of options with the No. 1 pick.
Primarily, the Bucs need to find a stable quarterback after years of turmoil at the position. Last year, they played Josh McCown and Mike Glennon. Both struggled terribly throwing the football and it was the major factor in them only winning two games.
The Bucs released McCown earlier this offseason as a result of his poor play.
So it is safe to say, barring some sort of bizarre trade, Tampa Bay will take a quarterback with the first pick of the 2015 draft. But now the question becomes — which quarterback they take?
Although there are several talented quarterbacks in the draft, only two warrant consideration for a top pick. Those quarterbacks are Jameis Winston from Florida State and Marcus Mariota from Oregon.
You couldn’t blame the Bucs for drafting either one of them. They both had amazing college careers and are proven winners. They both even have a Heisman trophy.
Despite all of those similarities, Winston is clearly a better fit for Tampa Bay and should be their selection with the No. 1 pick.
He played a pro-style offense at Florida State that is very similar to the offense the Bucs play. In addition, he has built up a large fan base near Tampa Bay after growing up in Alabama and playing college in Tallahassee. That base would provide a boost to the Bucs’ local fan base and could make the transition easier for Winston.
The main downfall with Mariota is his style of playing the quarterback position. He is a quick, running quarterback. He often breaks out of the pocket and make plays with his running ability.
As has been seen in the past, this style of playing quarterback is not sustainable in the NFL. Eventually, injury problems arise and quarterback is the last position an NFL franchise wants to continuously deal with injury concerns.
The big question looming over Winston is the character issues that came up while he attended Florida State. He had several run-ins with law enforcement and was constantly the focus of negative rumors.
Maybe it was just a result of being a heavily scrutinized young college kid, but it could be a general character problem. The Buccaneers’ main job from now until draft day will be trying to answer that exact question.
So of course there is a chance that Tampa Bay’s fear of Winston’s off-the-field issues keeps them from drafting him and they decide to play it safe and take a pass rushing defensive lineman like Leonard Williams from USC or Randy Gregory from Nebraska, but that chance is very, very slim.
They need an impact quarterback who can lead them to success. Jameis Winston can be that player.
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