With the unnamed scout brigade already doing its thing, Jameis Winston knows he can’t escape the scrutiny.
In fact, he says bring it on.
Winston told Peter King of TheMMQB.com he’s happy to answer questions for any team wondering about his off-field issues, which might be the only thing standing between himself and being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
“I love it,” Winston said. “I welcome it. They’re really going to find out the type of person I am. Character is not about what you do when you’re around people. Character is what you show when no one is looking. I believe if they do a hard, hard investigation into Jameis the person, they will find out that I’m a good guy.”
That responsibility is going to fall mostly on Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht, who has the keys to this draft with the No. 1 overall pick.
Licht admitted that Winston’s conduct is an issue to be examined, and that it was going to make his job much tougher over the next two months and change.
“Bad guy or immaturity?” Licht said. “I’m leaning toward the latter.”
Licht raved about the football ability of Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, knowing he can take either one he wants. But while Mariota’s a cleaner prospect in terms of character issues, he’s also not the same kind of dynamic passer Winston has proven to be, which will give Licht plenty to work through.
“But I’d be lying if I said I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the off-field stuff,” Licht said. “It’s always in the back of your mind. We’re people too. We have wives and daughters and bosses to answer to. And at the end of the day we will do the kind of due diligence the likes of which I don’t believe the Bucs will have ever done. This decision is going to affect so many people and their families. We’ve got to get it right.”
Which is why they’re going to research this one closely, and why Winston better not be lying about welcoming the scrutiny.