PFT's Florio believes FSU QB Winston should sit out 2014
Not only were Winston's stats among the best in college football, but he also received an abundance of accolades. Winston won the AP player of the year, Camp player of the year, Davey O'Brien quarterback of the year, and ACC player of the year awards. His highest honors, of course, were the Heisman Trophy and a BCS National Championship victory along with MVP honors for the big game.
As a redshirt freshman who turned 20 years old on Monday, one could say that he accomplished everything - that he was, in a sense, "perfect."
Unfortunately for Winston, he is not eligible for the NFL Draft until 2015, so he'll have to spend one more season watching Sunday football on the television. However, most people already believe that Winston is the heavy favorite to be selected first overall in the 2015 draft. As a result, some are suggesting that Winston sit out the 2014 season, as he can only hurt his draft stock, not help it.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is one of the people calling for Winston to take a year off. "The long-term, smart business decision for Jameis Winston, if he truly will be a top pick in 2015, don't play," Florio said. Florio suggests that Winston hire a coach to work with throughout the season, a la Everett Golson during his time away from Notre Dame.
The notion is reminiscent of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's decision prior to this past season. The massive freak of nature had already proven to be one of the game's premier prospects, so there was debate as to whether playing another season was worth the risk of injury. Clowney eventually ended the debate with his famous tweet, "im playing. Lol," but there was plenty of controversy as to how hard he played during the 2013 campaign.
Winston may look back on Clowney's season and think about all the scrutiny he was under. There were questions asked as to how serious Clowney's self-reported injuries were, why his stats had dropped, and if he even cared whether or not his team succeeded. Winston may want to avoid a situation like that, but a player like him - a vocal leader with a passion for football and an alleged "it" factor - will likely want to be on the field.
When it comes down to it, the only likely reason that Winston would want to sit out the 2014 season is to avoid getting hurt, which is what Florio was alluding to on Tuesday. A major injury could cause NFL teams to red flag Winston, and any nagging injuries could potentially cause disappointing performances, which could also raise the eyebrows of NFL scouts.
There are also reasons for Winston to return to school, however, and Florio acknowledges that Winston playing in 2014 is the probable scenario. While Winston is a phenomenal talent, he does still have some kinks to work out, and no personal trainer can simulate live game action. Winston recently drew a comparison to Byron Leftwich due to his long windup, questionable mechanics, and low eye level when surveying the field. Returning to school would help Winston grow as a passer while facing top-notch amateur competition.
The kid is a near lock to return to school, but it is simply worth noting that there are some who believe that he should not.