I Still Hate This Guy More than Christian Laettner: Jameis Winston Pro Day

It probably wasn’t exactly the Pro Day that Jameis Winston expected.

In one instance, Winston lead wide receiver Christian Green into the ESPN set while over throwing a ball downfield.

But, analysts agree that regardless of his performance, his position in the draft will not be effected.  Winston made 102 scripted throws, lasting about 45 minutes.  Although Winston had a rough start, he did find his rhythm and confidence in his throws in the red zone.

The Pro Day was clearly scripted to demonstrate Winston’s improvement moving outside the pocket, something that had been identified as a potential weakness in college (among other things), as well as show off his strengths.  It was evident from his body language and the frustrated expression during his first 70 plus throws downfield that he still wasn’t confident with his mechanics.  But, at least according to one analyst, that’s something that can be learned.

In addition, Winston looked winded from the start, bringing up questions about his conditioning.

NFL Network Photo - Jameis Winston Pro Day

NFL Network Photo

As noted, from college game footage, Winston’s greatest issues were with his decision making and footwork outside the pocket.  There was no decision making required in the 102 scripted throws (which were more akin to a memorized “dance” routine), but even with this preparation, the same mistakes from game film remained.  The most notable was the lack of balance and the missed ball placements — under throwing, over throwing and missing his targets while on the move.

But, it wasn’t all negative.  Kurt Warner complemented Winston on his understanding of how to make different types of throws to get the ball into the hands of his receiver.  And, the analysts all agreed that Winston demonstrated confidence and accuracy in the pocket in the red zone.

Winston stated that he felt the Pro Day went great.

“The perception is I cant move, and its about moving in the pocket.  And I feel I showed that.”

When asked: “Why 102 throws?”, Winston replied:

“I’m a competitor.  Lets give them everything.”

Winston is said to be a leader — charismatic and confident.  During his interview after his Pro Day showing, Winston reiterated what he previously said about his character at the combine, as if it was pre-scripted:

“Character is what you do when no one is looking…. I was immature…All that stuff is behind me…I don’t need to be the center of attention.  I already have charisma.  I already can talk.  I’m already the guy every body wants to be around. I don’t have to be in the spot light…It’s helped me grow (talking about the impact of sitting out the Clemson Game) as a young an as a individual.”

Winston stated that he hasn’t changed, but he’s grown:

“I can’t convince somebody I’m different.  What I can do is move forward, put things behind me and get better every day.”

All pretty words, exactly what people want to here.  And I’m certain the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also think as much.

I’m not doubting Winston’s love of the game.  Or his love for his family and sick elderly grandmother.  I just don’t believe he should be given a free pass after all the off-field problems he’s had.  People call his actions “immature childhood antics,” but I call it narcissistic entitlement based on athletic ability.  And that shouldn’t be rewarded in the NFL.

In my opinion, Winston is neither eloquent or charismatic.  And scripted throws and avoiding brooms cannot emulate an actual NFL game and does not equate to making quick split second decisions during a play.  Whether Winston will be able to overcome his tendency to throw interceptions by forcing the ball can only be proven in game.

Only time will tell if Winston will be able make it at the next level.  Analysts seem to believe in Winston’s ability.  I’m not so easily convinced.  Winston commented how he wanted to be like a Peyton Manning, not so much relying on his legs but possessing a football IQ.  With his questionable decision making skills on and off the field, his “football IQ” is suspect, and he’ll need to improve on his self proclaimed “back to the wall” attitude to win in the NFL.

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u