Draft day leaves a town divided

Buccaneers fans have waited months for an answer.  Their clock started ticking the moment they lost last season’s final game.  It was one of fourteen losses they suffered in 2014, just another year at the office for Tampa faithful.

Winston and Mariota at the combineHaving sealed the league’s worst record, the Bucs were awarded the draft’s top pick.  The potential, or at least immediate, fate of their franchise rested on a single decision.  Winston.  Mariota.  Mariota.  Winston.  Finkel.  Einhorn.  Which quarterback would the Bucs take with their first selection and how would it all pan out?

Despite having the luxury of the top pick, the Bucs landed this ignominious honor in a year with no clear cut number one.  Both quarterbacks had upside, both carried question marks.

If the Bucs could have turned back time and traded this pick for the top pick back in 2012, they’d have done so in a heartbeat.  But there is no Andrew Luck this year, or at least we don’t think there is.  A decision on one of the two had to be made.  An entire city hoped it would be the correct one.

The number one pick has carried promise in the past but this is what Buccaneers fans are afraid of.

The Oakland Raiders took JaMarcus Russell with their number one pick back in 2007.  He’s fat now.  Wait, he was fat THEN so allow me to correct myself.  He’s really fat now and still living off the millions Oakland paid him.  To aptly demonstrate just how wrong we can be about this sort of thing, draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. called Russell “John Elway-like.”  The only thing Russell has in common with Elway these days is that neither is playing in the league.

The selection of Russell at number one set the Raiders back years.  Eight seasons later, they are still irrelevant.

Jameis Winston is not JaMarcus Russell… or at least we hope he’s not.

While not a peep emerged from One Buc Place all winter about which quarterback they favored, most assumed Winston was the odds-on favorite.  His off-the-field actions which involve rape allegations and crab leg stealing, as well as his interception-prone decision-making on the field, left the door open for the squeaky clean Mariota as Plan B.

With the number one pickWe may never know for sure the extent to which Tampa Bay was entertaining offers for the top pick.  Either way, Famous Jameis is their man and now holds the future of this franchise in his work ethic.

The Buccaneers held a draft party in Raymond James Stadium Thursday evening.  Attendance was expected to reach around 15,000 but they were lucky to land half that many, still a healthy turnout for a team that can barely sell out home games.

The NFL Network’s draft coverage was piped through the stadium on the big screens in each end zone.

Before the Bucs made drafting Jameis official, analysts on the set announced that Philadelphia was willing to trade two first-rounders, a second round pick, an established defensive star in Fletcher Cox, Sigourney Weaver, the cast of “Rent” and a few other players for the opportunity to move up.   Rich Eisen called it a “king’s ransom.”  San Diego was also reportedly dangling the disgruntled Philip Rivers as trade bait.

All offers were refused.  Minutes into the draft, Winston was a Buccaneer.

According to reports, the franchise conducted an “unprecedented investigation” delving into Winston’s character.  They obviously approved of the answers they received but that didn’t stop half the crowd from moaning once the selection was announced.

Jameis HeadlinesTampa is now a city divided.  One Half of the town is skeptical, wishing they had considered other options, as if the team didn’t do their due diligence.  The other half thinks Jameis is the kind of quarterback a team can build around.  The only thing for certain is that there is no middle ground.  He is the most polarizing and certainly scrutinized player to hit the NFL since, well, Johnny Manziel, minus the Bieber cameos and binge-drinking but with the rampant immaturity.

The most interesting thing about Winston’s future, which he shares with basically every human being on this planet, is that nobody knows what it holds.  Ultimately, half of us will be proven right but which half is anyone’s guess.

I went to the University of Florida.  I’m also a Buccaneers fan.  I’m not rooting for Winston to fail just because he went to a rival school.  That’s ludicrous.  What’s the point of wishing ill will upon the man?  To be able to say I told you so if he fails?  What good does that serve?

It’s time to for Buc Nation to put aside our differences and give the kid a chance.  The pressure upon him is already immense enough, that last thing this kid needs is a lack of support.  He’s going to make mistakes.  He’s 21 years old.  If you disapprove of Winston because of his past, then so be it but as of now, he starts with a clean slate and an NFL record of 0-0.

The Buccaneers got their man and his name is Jameis Winston.

Most draft experts gave the Buccaneers a B but like us, they can’t see the future either.  No crystal ball can tell us whether Jameis will deliver the Super Bowl he promised.  At this point, we’d be happy with a winning season.

It’s a shame that some of us will be happier with an “I told you so.”


26 thoughts on “Draft day leaves a town divided

  1. I am not a Buc fan so it REALLY doesn’t matter to me one bit. That said, this was going to be the obvious result if they took him. Gator fans who are also Buc fans had no problem embracing Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks. Both good people. The problem is that Winston has done very little to show he is a good person. So I don’t think it is just that he is an FSU guy, but more that he is an FSU guy with a low moral compass. Just my two cents.

  2. Love him or hate him __ what the ##ck ? Or to paraphrase Hillary Clinton … ” what does it matter ” ?

    Did Jason Licht actually say this was the most important draft in the franchise’s history ? Clearly he hasn’t looked down through the Buccaneers’ history .

  3. D….

    I know Gator fans who say they won’t root for the team now. As if the University of Florida has produced nothing but do-gooders in the past. #AaronHernandez.

    Look, Winston’s a Buc and there’s nothing we can do about it. My main point is that it’s just a waste of energy to root against him. Personally, I’d like to have heard the offers on the table but that too is pointless.

    I’m behind the kid now until he does something stupid.

    Are the Jameis-haters going to turn around and cheer for him if he starts to win? It all just goes to show how fickle sports fans can be.

  4. Yeah, Al, picking Bo Jackson number one when he said he wasn’t going to play for the team was a pretty important draft.

    Or perhaps Licht wasn’t paying attention back then.

  5. Whether Winston does well or not, like you point out, remains to be seen but I think somebody better monitor what this man-child is up to right now. I’m afraid he’s got the “I’m entitled” attitude we’ve seen in athletes like A-Rod and Roger Clemens… Did you see this?
    http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2015/story/_/id/12797678/jameis-winston-tweets-photo-crab-legs-draft-selection-tampa-bay-buccaneers

    It’s like he’s rubbing peoples’ noses in it right off the bat… If this continues it’s going to be tough pulling for the guy to succeed…

  6. I saw my Facebook page littered with Buc/Gator fans freaking out. I get what you are saying. The problem that a lot of people, not just Gator fans have is there appears to holes in the wall of justice. There is NO doubt that TPD and FSU dropped the ball big time with regards to the alleged rape. This is a SERIOUS accusation that failed to go through the proper legal channels. The NY Times, ESPN et al have written many columns about this story. They have pointed out many problems that the people who were in charge of the investigation that did not follow procedures.

    I have two daughters and I would be livid/crazy if this happened to my daughter. She did not get the proper guidance/investigating that she deserved. It is all a moot point now I suppose, but this will follow Winston forever, rightly or wrongly. Time will I guess on how it shakes out. One thing I do know is the guy who QB’s my team is better than Winston…Go Colts!

  7. We’ll see, Dwin.

    He’s a confident kid. He also does some stupid shit.

    My understanding is that guys like Derrick Brooks are going to take him under his wing. I also wonder with his contract with the Bucs is laden with stipulations that can deny him pay if he continues to act his age.

    That would be wise but I’m not so sure the Players Union would allow that.

    We’ll see, I guess.

  8. D…

    Trade ya’.

    Yeah, we don’t know what happened with that girl that night. I’ve heard conflicting stories.

    Did Mike Tyson rape that girl? Did Kobe Bryant? We don’t know.

    Here’s hoping there are no further incidents of the sort so we can talk about football and not prison time.

    Oh, and by the way, I just had this great visual of you as Samuel Jackson taking a shotgun to Jameis and shouting “YES HE DESERVES TO DIE AND I HOPE HE BURNS IN HELL!!!”

  9. If Brooks does take Winston under his wing , then he first ought to kick his @ss for being a dumb son of b##tch . Winston has never had any respect for women and it has been shown repeatedly with his behavior outside the alleged sexual assaults . But then again a slick lawyer such as David Cornwell can make any state DA look like a complete @sshole .

    Tophatal ………….

  10. Let me tell what you’re going to get with Jamies Roethlisberger. A guy who is rightly or not going to get the blame for the fact that he’s can’t fix what’s wrong with that team by himself. I mean, Lovie Smith is your coach, for the love of God. Glazer is still the owner.

  11. I hear what all of you are saying, but I spent 89-97 living in Tallahassee, and I can sure tell you everyone in Tallahassee got Winn-Dixie or Publix “hook up’s” so the whole crablegs things should be looked at in proper context.

    I am sure he had sex with that girl, but I have serious doubts about any woman who is part of a group of FSU girls that call themselves “The Cleat Chaser’s” and then turn coat on a football player when he refuses to leave his girlfriend to be with her “Ratchet Azz”. No TPD and FSU surly mishandled that investigation, but the public needs to look at the motive for the accuser as well. If he in fact did rape her he needs to be locked away till he is 90, but knowing how the girls that are “Football Groupies” in Tallahassee I would err on the side of caution before I go accusing a man of a life altering charge like rape.

    At the end of the day all that matters right now is that he wasn’t charged because after 1 faulty investigation, and a 2nd highly publicised investigation there was not enough hard proof to file these kinds of charges against him.

    All that out of the way it boils down to what kind of leader is he? Is he a winner? Does he take well to coaching? Is he tough enough to perform at the NFL level. I think we all know the answers to those questions.

    Mr Winston will be the face of this francise for a long long time. Will he win a Super Bowl maybe not, but is he better than the other QB’s on the roster. HELL YES!!!!

  12. The Bucs vetted this kid and got the go ahead sign. Come on this is no Aaron Hernandez. He’ll grow up and make this team respectable. Youthful indiscretions? We were all there………….well maybe not Tebow.

  13. Look at Swannie poppin’ his cherry on the chump.

    Welcome to the fracas, sir.

    So I take it that you would be perfectly okay if the Pats had drafted Jameis, you know, to learn as an understudy. Have your boy Brady take him under his wing and ultimately hand over the reins. You’d be cool with that?

    Look, we all know we’re fickle sports fans. If the kid keeps his nose clean and starts winning ball games, something we haven’t seen in this town in quite some time, all will be forgotten.

    If he doesn’t, well, that’s another story altogether.

    He’s a confident, charismatic, marketable young kid. Let’s hope things go well for him. No sense in doing otherwise.

  14. I live in Atlanta and was here through the Ray Lewis botched investigation / cover-up. Now look at him – SB champion, “motivational leader”, sportscaster, riot suppression spokesman, etc. Not a RL fan, but it goes to the points made above that if Winston keeps his nose clean and helps Bucs to some playoff wins, all of this will go away like sh*t through a goose

  15. That’s a fair comparison, Moose. I actually thought of it while writing something along those lines… although the allegations against Lewis were far more severe.

    Media scrutiny has gotten considerably worse, especially in the last ten years or so. Just look at Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice for example. These two still haven’t gotten a pass. Who knows how long it will be until they do. I’m not suggesting they deserve one. I’m just saying it’s a long time coming and still could be.

    Winston needs to listen to the people who truly have his back. This kid has been given the keys to his dream. Here’s hoping he uses them responsibly.

  16. I really can’t imagine Tebow being a virgin at 27? 28? Despite what he says. That would just be plain stupid honestly. The sheer amount of top level poon that guy could bag would approach historic. It would really be disappointing to me lol.

  17. I’m not D, but I’d say it’s what Tom Brady is having every night that he wants it. He’s probably not feeling like sampling it right this minute though – he’s busy trying to keep Goodell from trying him on for size today. Not a Patriots homer but it amazes me how ESPN (and other talking heads) continue to act outraged that something like this happens. C’mon people, I don’t think they win 12+ games every year by cheating – and if they are, they just do it better than the other teams. Fine them, change your ball control rules and get on with it so Tom can go back to working Gisele.

  18. What I don’t get about the entire thing, Moose, is why we’re reporting this now… or more appropriately WHAT they’re reporting.

    The report claims that the Patriots “more than likely” tampered with the balls? What the fuck is that? Did they or didn’t they?

    If you don’t know, then don’t report anything because you have nothing to report.

  19. ” Top level poon” would be 9’s or 10’s on the hotness scale. Poon is short for poontang which is a derogatory slang term for a women’s lady parts. It kind of all goes together. I thought this was amongst friends and we were in the circle of trust. I was not trying to offend your readers with my poor choice of words. That said I think all of your readers know what poon means.

  20. After that last retort I almost chose not to post…

    but I couldn’t miss the zinger on Al quoting Hillary.. so fitting together

    Jameis is a thug with ethics issues. It’ll blow up at least a couple more times because of his ghetto mindset. He has HUGE physical talent but Mariota might have been a better selection to balance the franchise on a young mans shoulders.

    FWIW, Tebow is an idiot who should be relegated to a single trivia question, WTF ever happened to that idiot Tebow? Oh he’s 47 now and still a virgin. What an idiot.

  21. Tree…

    You just gave me a brilliant idea.

    How about an Odd Couple Reality TV show starring both Tebow and Winston.

    What kind of ratings would that get?

    I promise to split the proceeds.

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