The first pick in any draft can and should be a game-changer for an organization. Typically, that game-changing effect happens on the field, but that pick can have a major effect off the field as well.
As Jason Licht, Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter, and the rest of the Bucs' brass have traveled across the country to get first-hand views of Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, it appears as if the final say for whom the team selects will come from the Glazer family themselves.
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, "the selection won't happen without the approval of ownership."
While it isn't earth-shattering news that ownership could have final say in a particular selection for their own franchise, the second part of Robinson's news is surprising.
"First, general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith won't have the final say on drafting Winston. The source said the selection won't happen without the approval of ownership. Second, the source said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz (the daughter of late owner Malcolm Glazer) is one of the voices in the Bucs' front office whose opinion could influence the pick.
"The source did not say Kassewitz was against drafting Winston. Nor did the source say Mariota or any other player was preferred at No. 1. But the source said that Kassewitz – who is the co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation – has raised some internal questions about the community relations impact of the pick.
"That could mean little. But at the very least, an important person in the Glazer's inner circle will be looking as much off the field as on it when it comes to the Winston selection.
The fact that Kassewitz could have one of the strongest voices in regards to the draft selection by the Bucs is very surprising and concerning. While many appreciate what the Glazer Family Foundation has done for the Tampa Bay area, the Bucs should be selecting the most talented player, not the nicest player. If both are the same, then fantastic! However, if Winston is the better player, but has had some flaws in his past that he is trying to clean up, should that deter the Buccaneers from selecting him if they truly feel his character issues are in the past?
In addition, and I know this may sound crazy to some people, I think Jameis Winston could ultimately have a greater impact on a community than Marcus Mariota. We know that Mariota will not do anything to jeopardize the integrity of an organization, but his quiet demeanor and shy approach won't boost community relations for the Buccaneers either.
I have stated numerous times that Jameis Winston has more potential on AND off the field than Mariota due to his personality. Focusing off the field, I believe Winston's personality could end up being the Bucs biggest asset in what he does off the field and in the community. That dynamic personality visiting hospitals, spending time with kids at the Glazer Children's Museum, or just attending local events will ignite the Buccaneers fan base as much as his success on the field.
As Luke Easterling of DraftBreakdown.com reported weeks ago, if Jameis Winston has been meeting with a local Tampa Bay pastor during this process and truly wants to be a star off the field as much as he does on it, his potential in doing that with his personality far exceeds what I think Mariota could do with his personality.
Again, for those that still may be confused. Marcus Mariota is a safe pick when it comes to off the field. Mariota will not now or ever do anything that might compromise the organization, but his personality will likely not ignite a fire in a stagnant fan base either.
If used properly, and if he truly has matured as he has said, Winston's personality and leadership will be as much an asset off the field and in community relations as it will be in the huddle on Sundays.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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