The Buccaneers entered the combine on Wednesday as the rock stars of the event. That's what comes with having the 1st pick. Both Lovie Smith and Jason Licht spoke to the media, and, according to most people I have talked to or heard nationally, the consensus is that they might be laying the groundwork for one specific player.
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After telling ESPN that he believed Jameis Winston could be "the face of the franchise," Lovie Smith had this to say about Winston.
“I understand the allegations against him. I understand that he went through the justice system, the court system to be exonerated on some allegations against him,” Smith said.
Later on Wednesday, it was Bucs GM Jason Licht's turn to explain how the Bucs might be viewing Jameis Winston.
“I think the bottom line with all players that have some concerns is you have to figure out if the guy is a bad person or just an immature person,” Licht said.
When talking more about Winston, Licht said, "I don't think we have to worry as much as people think."
Lovie Smith's and Jason Licht's performances on Wednesday has gotten people on ESPN talking. The consensus from their comments and sources I have in Indianapolis is that the Bucs are setting everybody up, especially their fans, for them to select Jameis Winston.
"I think from a public relations aspect, they're laying the groundwork for people in Tampa to say it may be alright to draft this guy," Sal Paolantonio said on ESPN of the Bucs drafting Jameis Winston.
Bill Polian believes the Bucs will really ramp up their efforts to prepare their fanbase for their expected quarterback by April 1st and through the month of April.
"By the time they get to April 1st, they will know exactly how they feel about both men," Bill Polian said on ESPN. "At that point, they'll be able to say, 'whoever we take we're taking for the following reasons...' and they'll have answers to all of the questions that we in the media ask. Those answers will flip the fans. The fans will be happy once the process is finished."
If the Bucs do intend on taking Winston because they feel he is the better player and, perhaps, a different person than what is being portrayed in the media, then laying the groundwork now is brilliant PR and marketing.
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