After months of intensive research, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used the first overall draft pick on Jameis Winston, a quarterback with a checkered past. The Bucs drafted Winston on Thursday night in an indication that they don’t believe a series of off-field incidents in college will be an indicator of future behavior.
Winston was accused of sexual assault during his freshman season at Florida State but never was charged. The Bucs investigated that and other off-field incidents, and apparently came away with the conclusion that Winston won’t have any more trouble.
Licht and coach Lovie Smith said repeatedly over the past two months that they were comfortable with the prospect of taking Winston, who also generated negative headlines when he was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket and later suspended for one game last season after climbing onto a table in the Florida State student union and shouting an obscenity.
On the field, there are few questions about Winston, who led Florida State to the national championship during his Heisman Trophy-winning freshman season in 2013. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound Winston passed for 3,907 yards and 25 touchdowns with 18 interceptions last season, completing a collegiate career in which he went 26-1 as a starter for the Seminoles.