Jameis Winston raised one more red flag Thursday for NFL personnel executives to consider after his third-quarter meltdown and heated sideline exchange with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher while the Seminoles were being routed 59-20 by Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
Might Winston be the 2015 NFL draft’s Johnny Manziel, another former Heisman Trophy winner free falling from the top of the first round to the bottom of it?
“I don’t think it’s good. But sometimes in the heat of battle, you do things you normally wouldn’t do,” former Dallas Cowboys personnel guru and current NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. “(Winston) is a very talented kid. But off the field, he has a long list of issues, and he’s going to have a lot of questions to be answered.
“He’s a guy who could picked first or second in the draft, or he could fall to who knows where.”
Winston has until Jan. 15 to declare himself eligible for the draft. But he may have added to his growing reputation as infamous Jameis when, trailing by 19 points to the Ducks, he dropped back to pass, scrambled away from the pass rush and then gave a flashback to flustered former Miami Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian in Super Bowl VII as he attempted to loft an ill-advised pass while falling backward. Oregon defender Tony Washington scooped up Winston’s gift and raced 58 yards for the touchdown.
Winston compounded his gaffe when he engaged in an emotional conversation with Fisher as the game was slipping away.
“That exchange doesn’t factor because that stuff happens all the time,” six-time NFL executive of the year and current ESPN and SIRIUS NFL Radio analyst Bill Polian told USA TODAY Sports. “The only reason people take notice of it is because the cameras are everywhere. … That’s no issue at all. They had a rough time protecting him, and that’s the problem.
“You can’t make a decision off of one game. That’s just a snapshot. … There’s a long way to go between now and the first week in May.”
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SOURCE: USA Today – Jim Corbett