If Jameis Winston doesn’t attend the NFL draft in Chicago, and he goes No. 1 as expected to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it will be a rare occurrence. It seems like every first overall pick – and this isn’t just NFL, we’re talking NBA and NHL too – is on hand, and walks across the stage and greets the commissioner and gets the photo op that will live on forever. But there have been reports that Winston won’t attend the draft. He is widely expected to be the first overall pick on April 30. After his pro day workout on Tuesday, Winston appeared on NFL Network and said that he hasn’t made a final decision. “We really haven’t made that decision yet, because there’s been a lot of pressure for people trying to get me to come to the draft,” Winston said with a smile. Of course the NFL wants him at the draft; it’s a bit strange if he’s not. The NFL has turned the draft into a huge show and the No. 1 pick is the star. There was some speculation that the controversy that follows Winston, and a possible negative reaction from the crowd, was an unspoken reason for him staying home. That’s not the reason, he said. It had been speculated that he wanted to stay home to be with his family for such a big moment, but it’s a little more specific than that, he said. “My grandmother, she can’t travel,” Winston said. “She has type 2 diabetes, and has had multiple surgeries. And I wanted her to be there. She’s been … my life. Both of my grandmothers. My mom’s mom raised me. She passed away when I was 14. That’s my motivation. My dad’s mom, she’s fighting diabetes. She’s my motivation. I bought her a lift chair to make her smile. Just because of her.” That’s certainly understandable, and aside from making sure he’s with his grandmother who couldn’t make the trip, he can be with all of his family if he stays home instead of going to Chicago. “I want the people who have been there since day one to enjoy this moment,” Winston told NFL Network. “It’s a celebration to me. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I would look forward to spending with my family.” So there it is. If Winston does skip out on attending the draft in person it would be very unusual, but he has a pretty good reason for it. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
In the history of the NFL, no quarterback has ever played with his shirt off. So really, it doesn’t matter much what Jameis Winston looked like at his weigh-in at Florida State’s pro day on Tuesday. But yet, some heads turned when Winston was shown on NFL Network and he wasn’t looking like what we’d expect from the presumptive first pick of the draft. Jameis Winston after his weigh-in on @nflnetwork . #FSUProDay http://ift.tt/1EZb0yZ — JennaLaineBucs (@JennaLaineBucs) March 31, 2015 Jameis Winston has a flabby physique for a pro athlete http://ift.tt/1xvJknK — Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) March 31, 2015 Another shot of Jamieis Winston after his weigh-in, courtesy of @nflnetwork . #FSUProDay http://ift.tt/1C2ChhZ — JennaLaineBucs (@JennaLaineBucs) March 31, 2015 This isn’t the first time Winston has dealt with questions about his conditioning or weight. Before the NFL scouting combine, a photo of him working out went viral: Jameis Winston looking slim http://ift.tt/1792ljs — Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 14, 2015 But that was debunked, which basically just turned the whole thing into the overreaction over the “fat” Eddie Lacy photo a couple years ago that made it look like Lacy was huge but apparently the photo was just not his good side. Winston looked a lot different in this photo: Oh internet …. RT @SportsGrid : Meanwhile, #Relax http://t.co/alHq6KzZuD http://ift.tt/17qIqfW — Jeff (@saintwarrick) February 14, 2015 And at this point we’ve discussed Winston’s physique entirely too much because, again, he won’t be playing with his shirt off. His actual pro day workout was the most important part of the day (but even that isn’t too important in the grand scheme because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have barely tried to hide that they’ll take him first overall ). Winston is not a phenomenal athlete compared to some other recent quarterbacks, like Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (Winston barely broke five seconds flat in the 40-yard dash, compared to 4.52 for Mariota), but he has a fantastic arm, is very good from the pocket and it’s not like his athleticism is a hindrance. He’s the top quarterback in the draft and for good reason; the stuff about what shape he’s in is part of the pre-draft season in which a lot of things that don’t matter much get dissected. And, well, let’s go back to what Winston said at the scouting combine the first time there was a hullabaloo about what shape he was in. “A lot of people thought I was fat, but I’m here, I’m proving everybody wrong,” Winston said. “I look good and I know it.” – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
Jameis Winston has spent much of the past two months crisscrossing the nation, sharpening his quarterback skills and trying to convince NFL teams he’s learned from mistakes made off the field and ready to become the face of a franchise. A lot of his effort was geared toward the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the first pick this year’s NFL draft. Heading into Winston’s pro day at Florida State on Tuesday, by all accounts the 2013 Heisman winner has made a strong impression. All the Bucs’ decision-makers, coach Lovie Smith, general manager Jason Licht, and – maybe even more importantly – the Glazer family, which owns the team, appear to be comfortable with Winston’s history of off-the-field issues.
Anyone who has ever attempted to put together a mock draft knows that there are a handful of teams whose picks represent flashpoint moments in the draft. Think back to last year. The Jacksonville Jaguars taking Blake Bortles third overall was the first bolt out of the blue, and it helped set the table for the rest of the first round. Then there are the trades. The Cleveland Browns shifted up, down and around the first round (and elsewhere) and easily became one of the pivotal, first-round shaping teams last season. (Which is different from being effective drafters, but that’s another point.) There are a handful of teams who can change the tide of Round 1 on April 30 — either by making surprising picks or by making moves up or down that could shift the landscape significantly. We might not know what the effect of these plate tectonics might be, but we certainly can see where the fault lines might lie. Here’s a look at the teams that significantly could alter how the top of the draft is shaped: Tennessee Titans (No. 2 overall pick) — Ken Whisenhunt’s professed love for Marcus Mariota felt a little ingenuine to us, but we also can buy into the idea that Zach Mettenberger might not represent their vision of a franchise quarterback either. Those things are mutually exclusive. The second pick is for sale, but how high is their price? The Titans’ biggest need — outside of quarterback, that is — is talent. Jim Schwartz used this line when he took over the 0-16 Detroit Lions, and we’re going to steal it and stamp it here, too. The Titans are starting to forge the broad strokes of a decent front seven on defense, they have a few OK receivers and some offensive linemen worth working around. Other than that, it’s an ugly roster. Depending on what they do, whether it’s trade down, take Mariota or fall back on Leonard Williams, could help shape other teams’ pursuit of quarterbacks in this draft. [All Draft News, All The Time: Follow Shutdown Draft 365 on Tumblr ] Washington Redskins (No. 5 overall pick) — We like that the Redskins have been active in free agency, but not active in a “Daniel Snyder is crazy” kind of way. New GM Scot McCloughan is one of the keenest talent evaluators in the game, and he knows the value of picks. That’s why we believe any team seeking to move up for Mariota (or whomever else) could really start in earnest at No. 5 overall. That’s where the Redskins’ pick should be for sale. Really, their needs don’t quite sync up perfectly with the talent available, so a move down makes a ton of sense. If they stay put, is it an edge rusher? If so, which one? We assume they’ll lean toward either Dante Fowler Jr. or Vic Beasley, whichever one the Jacksonville Jaguars do not take third. But the Redskins are a wildcard factor in the big picture for sure. Why else? Well, we also can’t rule out them taking a quarterback. Ah, the Redskins — always fascinating. New York Jets (No. 6 overall pick) — They, too, will consider Mariota. The Jets are sending six key decision makers Saturday up to Oregon to meet with the quarterback and try to decide if he’s worth their investment. Otherwise, they could be the trade-up destination for another team should he still be on the board at 6. And like the Redskins, the Jets have their eyes on the edge-rush candidates; that’s the one clear thing (other than maybe a rangy safety) that their defense lacks at this point. Plus, it’s a first-year general manager in Mike Maccagnan, so we don’t have a great feel for what direction he might go. We’ve had various people connect them to Todd Gurley , too, which is fascinating. Is 6 too early for him? St. Louis Rams (No. 10 overall pick) — The Rams have drafted 28 players the past three seasons (including 13 of those picks in the first three rounds) and could stand to move up if they wanted. That said, they have a mere five selections in the draft, sending fourth- and sixth-round choices to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for safety Mark Barron. Sure, the Rams might be content at 10 and could have a choice offensive lineman — it’s a need — fall into their laps, or they could even get lucky and be able to pick a top receiver, such as Amari Cooper or Kevin White, whichever one the Oakland Raiders pass on at 4. But Jeff Fisher’s continual hinting that the Rams’ QB picture is far from complete is intriguing, and it opens up the possibilities of what this team could do. Cleveland Browns (Nos. 12 and 19 overall picks) — Ah, yes, the Browns once again find themselves in the draft vortex as big players yet riding that line of insanity. There’s a good bet that when it’s all said and done, GM Ray Farmer might not end up making picks at 12 and 19. No team has more draft cache right now than the Browns, with their 10 overall picks, including additional fourth- and sixth-round picks to play with. What confuses the matter and might not be clear until next week is whether Farmer and Co. are docked a selection for the texting-from-the-booth incident (how Browns is that, by the way?) and if it’s a mid-rounder that could change their plans. Are the Browns interested in Mariota? Would they move up? Down? Could they go completely off radar altogether? They certainly are a get-your-popcorn-ready team if there ever was one on April 30. New Orleans Saints (Nos. 13 and 31 overall picks) — The Saints own five of the top 78 picks, plus an additional fifth-rounder, amid a napalm job to half their roster — with the other half perhaps ready to be nuked as well. We’ve been told by league sources that the Saints “still have a big move or two” left in them, so we only can assume that they’ll be big players when it comes to Round 1. The Jimmy Graham trade netted them No. 31 and the Kenny Stills deal (which we’re still trying to figure out) got them another third-rounder. Everything’s on the table, but we’ve heard they are going all in on revamping this defense and also looking to add a big receiver. The depth of the draft at those respective positions allows them to sit tight and take several good football players. But something tells us that fireworks might be afoot. They’re not done blowing stuff up. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 20 overall) — There are a handful of other teams between 13 and 20, such as the Miami Dolphins or San Diego Chargers, that are capable of shaking things up. But there will be a virtual drumroll and a tangible buzz when the Eagles find themselves on the clock. And, of course, we have no freaking clue when that actually will be. Chip Kelly is making the call on these picks now, and for all we know he could trade every pick he has; we wouldn’t put it past him. Needs? They still have plenty — secondary, offensive line pass rusher, maybe receiver — the Mariota talk won’t go away. It would be a profound disappointment if they stood pat at 20 and took, say, Florida State C-OG Cameron Erving. Nothing against Erving, a player we like very much. It just wouldn’t be a very Kelly-ish move, right? Baltimore Ravens (No. 26 overall) — The Ravens have 10 selections total, with extra fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round picks they can move, along with all of their own picks except in Round 7. (They also have three compensatory picks — one in Round 4, two in Round 5 — but those cannot be traded by league rules.) GM Ozzie Newsome has shown a propensity to deal, and he nailed trades up for Joe Flacco and Haloti Ngata, but not wantonly, either. Newsome has to love what he sees in front of him to move up; more likely is for them to move back if the right player isn’t on his plate. But they also have some real holes on their team, one that nearly took down the New England Patriots in the playoffs and could go a long way this season if they patch up the roster smartly. Staying put at 26 could land them a receiver or cornerback or pass rusher — all areas they’d love to improve. But the Ravens also could be a team to watch for a trade, and they pick right in front of the deal-happy Dallas Cowboys at 27, which ups the stakes a tad. – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
PHOENIX (AP) — Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith wouldn't come right out and say it. He sure gave every indication that the Buccaneers were ready to make Jameis Winston the No. 1 pick in next month's NFL draft, though.