Scouting the 2014 Seminoles: Jameis Winston

We continue our scouting reports with 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

As the 2014 season draws near, we are providing scouting reports on key players on the Florida State roster. Today, we continue with 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

Jameis Winston: To Date

Jaboo knows. The former five-star QB recruit from Bessemer, AL, tore through his redshirt freshman year with a vengeance:



















Not much to say beyond that stat line. Oh, he also led his team to a national championship. I suppose that warrants mention.

Scouting Report


It all starts with elite-level anticipation. Winston reads coverages and anticipates openings faster and better than all but a few NFL quarterbacks, let alone his collegiate peers. To get a sense of what this means, think about how the best point guards seem to be able to see everything a moment before it happens, allowing them to make passes other players wouldn’t even see. That’s Winston in a nutshell. He diagnoses defenses very quickly and throws confidently to open space before the receiver breaks, with the end result being extra separation and receivers running free through the secondary.

Winston also has elite hand and arm talent, possessing the ability to vary his arm and release speed to alter trajectory and location. Again, think basketball: Winston is like an elite shooter who displays a soft touch from everywhere on the floor and from multiple body angles. Has big hands and can hold onto the ball just a split second longer to control from the fingers, giving him especially good touch on verticals and bucket throws.

Very accurate when throwing horizontally on bubbles (one of the toughest throws in the game) and in the short zones, again showing the ability to take power off the throw to keep it catchable.

Because of hand talent and touch, can throw accurately from bad body angles, messy pockets, and on the move. Does a reasonably good job squaring his hips to throw when outside the pocket.

A very good athlete for the position with plus size at 6’4.5, 230 and very good movement skills. Not a true dual-threat but more of a Ben Roethlisberger type who runs well enough and frequently enough to keep a defense honest. Very strong in the pocket and does not go down easily. Keeps plays alive with strength and quickness. Shows a good pocket sense and naturally evades pressure. Does not seem to be bothered by pressure in his face.

Big time competitor who relishes pressure and enjoys road environments. Fully understands the Jimbo Fisher offense and does an outstanding job keeping the offense in the right play at the line of scrimmage. Demanding of teammates without being overbearing. Likeable presence in the locker room. Genuine, is who he is.

Student of the game and film junkie who likes little more than working at the craft. Gets stir crazy if not working on his game.

Room for Improvement

Has had a tumultuous two years off the field. A goofball who enjoys being the center of attention, has had to learn when to tone down due to being in the public eye.

Footwork in 2013 was below-average. Hops around in the pocket, does not consistently retain a stable base. Needs a lot of work when starting under center: does not adequately drive back from the LOS or maintain rhythm with his feet.

Throws very much like a baseball pitcher (for good reason) with too much of a wind-up and too wide of a base, causing him to sail throws on occasion. Often throws “all arm,” getting away with it because of arm/hand talent. Needs to stay balanced and transfer his weight with his hips rather than swaying and throw from his arm.

Ball position in the pocket was too low in 2013, slowing his release down. Release a bit reminiscent of Byron Leftwich. Showed some improvement in the spring in that regard and has worked throughout the summer to tighten that up; remains to be seen how that will stick under pressure.

Can get greedy and force throws downfield. Needs to take the check-down options more consistently. Was slightly less effective against coverage than against the blitz in 2013 partly because of this aggressiveness.

Could be a better ball handler in play action.

Weight was a problem at times in 2014, particularly after the awards banquet circuit that led to Winston gaining over 20 pounds. (He jokes he’s learned to eat only salads at those banquets this year.) He did, however, drop that weight over the summer and is as svelte as he has been since arriving at FSU.

Floor/Ceiling & NFL Potential

It’s obviously rare when a player with a full season under his belt hasn’t played his way out of the “greatest of all time” discussions yet. As can be seen above, Winston was great in 2013 without really scratching the surface of his potential, which is frightening. This is a guy who could easily turn into a Peyton Manning type NFL great. At worst, he’s a multi-year NFL starter. Likely the first or second pick in the next NFL draft.

Compares To

Ben Roethlisburger. Big, physical, moves well, huge arm down the field, and plays with an edge to him.

Outlook for 2014

I expect Winston to be significantly improved in 2014, though his yardage and TD numbers may not show it. The loss of perpetual mismatch Benjamin will hurt, and the receiving corps was extremely consistent in 2013. That said, the 2014 group is a bit more explosive, which should lead to more YAC and perhaps an even higher YPA number than the already-absurd 10.6 Winston posted in 2013.

FSU also has a tougher overall slate but still not enough meat on the schedule that he will play beyond the midpoint of the third quarter in most games. I also expect FSU’s running game to be good enough to take away many of the red zone touchdowns Winston had in 2013, and more attention to the run will lead to fewer overall possessions.

The key number to watch is his passer rating, which I expect to go up slightly even if the other numbers decrease.

Projections: 241-350, 3850 yards, 35 TD, 8 INT, 189.69 rating, 125 rushing yards.

Previous Scouting Reports:

LT Cam Erving

C Austin Barron

RT Bobby Hart

RG Tre’ Jackson

LG Josue Matias

TE Nick O’Leary

QB John Franklin

QB Sean Maguire

DE Mario Edwards, Jr.

DT Nile Lawrence-Stample

WR Christian Green

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