Johnny Manziel has officially set the example for teams across the league on what kind of quarterback not to draft, according to some. Any top quarterback can have all the tools and ability any one has ever possessed but if he has any immaturity problems at all he is a replica of “Johnny Freakin’ Football.”
Because of that, many suggest the Bucs should use caution when looking at drafting Florida State’s Jameis Winston with the first overall selection. That’s fair. No one should argue that. However, the problem comes in when you start comparing his situation with others. Look, we know what Winston has done and what he has been accused of doing. It's been touched on right here on BucsBlitz.com. Many have their agendas and claim to know the facts. Is that grounds for comparing him to Manziel or even Aaron Hernandez? An article in the Orlando Sentinel by George Diaz seems to think so.
We've seen this movie before. Go to Google and type in "Lawrence Phillips." Try "Ryan Leaf," too. Or "Aaron Hernandez." And, lastly, "Michael Vick." It took prison time to set Vick straight, even though some people will never forgive him for his despicable role in a dog-fighting ring.
Many will view this as a stretch while others will agree. That’s up to you to decide. But the problem is putting Winston in the same category as others who have failed without giving him the opportunity to show is nowhere near their “level” of problems. As a result, the article ends by saying the Bucs should be safe.
But with where everyone stands today, the Bucs would be wise to trade down and stockpile draft picks and/or players, or take a shot with [Marcus] Mariota.
It's not the sexiest move, but it's the safest.
Remember the trouble makers people often complained about on the Buccaneers roster? Well, they want a Super Bowl with those types. What has happened since? What has happened since trying to take in “good guys” or selecting the “safer” pick?
Tight end Kellen Winslow was supposed to be the veteran voice and veteran leader in the Bucs locker room but unfortunately there was no structure under the Raheem Morris regime. Gerald McCoy was not seasoned yet and Morris was too much of a player’s coach. Fast forward to the Greg Schiano era and you had someone who was trying to make strides in changing the culture but may have tried too hard as players started tuning him out.
Now they have Lovie Smith. A man who demands respect and urges his players to respect one another. He has already laid down the foundation for accountability that failed in previous regimes, evident within the locker room and throughout One Buc Place. He saw how the balance of “trouble makers” and leaders blended well during the Super Bowl run. There is balance and structure now.
If the Bucs draft Winston it’s because they have confidence in him moving forward. He’ll be put in that structured setting. Not just with McCoy and many other leaders in the locker room, but several within the front office and outside the organization like Derrick Brooks.
Nothing in the draft is guaranteed so why not take the chance? If not then go ahead and take the safer route but ask yourself one question: How much longer will you continue to be content with mediocrity (or worse) if that safer route fails?
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