Imagining a Buccaneers Team with Jameis Winston

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Photo R. Matamba

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

The 2015 NFL Draft is 47 days away. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers own the first overall pick in the draft, and they appear to be targeting either Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. I’ve made it clear that I believe in the abilities of Jameis Winston both mentally and physically. I’ve also made it clear that I believe Tampa Bay should take Winston with the first pick on April 30. In his pre-draft visit with the Buccaneers in early March, he expressed interest in playing with the team this fall.

“Being able to play three years in Florida, I would love to stay here in this great state,” he said in an interview on the team’s official website.

He won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship as a redshirt freshman with the Seminoles. Imagine what he could do for Buccaneers.

On the leadership side of things, Winston could lead the offense alongside veteran receiver Vincent Jackson. His vocal leadership of the offense would mix well with Gerald McCoy’s leadership presence on defense. It’s not hard to picture the 21-year-old stepping right in and leading from day one.

Now imagine Winston from a football perspective. That’s the fun part.

Three-fifths of the offensive line appear to be set, with Evan Dietrich-Smith at center, Logan Mankins at left guard and Demar Dotson at left tackle. The team would be wise to retool the right side of the line, and they can find starters as deep as the third and fourth rounds of the draft, according to NFL Draft analyst Luke Easterling.

 

Winston’s strong arm and the size of Tampa Bay’s receivers is a combination Buccaneer fans should easily welcome. Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins all stand at 6’5″ and have the ability to make plays downfield. Winston’s ability to make deep throws with accuracy would optimize the potential of the team’s big receivers.

Unless a big trade or signing is made prior to the season, Dirk Koetter’s offense will feature a stable of running backs that includes Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims. If the running game can improve along with the offensive line, we could see a Buccaneer offense with a deadly balance.

This offense should be readily embraced by both the organization and its fans. What could it lead to? The team’s first playoff appearance since 2007? Their first NFC South title since that same year? Tampa Bay’s first playoff win since they won Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002? Hey, maybe even the franchise’s second Super Bowl trophy.