Maybe it was his flabbiness, or maybe it was his uninspiring footwork and accuracy. Either way, Jameis Winston’s Pro Day just seemed . . . off.
“I didn’t think he was his normal self,” former Bucs quarterback and current Yahoo! Sports NFL analyst Shaun King said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I thought his footwork wasn’t as good as it is on film. I didn’t think he threw the ball with the same level of accuracy that he does in the game. But I’m not actually blaming Jameis. I just think it was the workout itself that was flawed.
“I believe in these pro days that the only time you attack perceptions is when they don’t match the reality,” King continued. “My point being, Andrew Luck had a perception initially that he didn’t have the strongest arm. That doesn’t match his reality. He can make all the throws. He has a big-time arm. Jameis Winston’s perception was he’s not a great athlete. His reality is he’s not a great athlete. So to center the workout around athletic movement, to me, was a huge mistake.
“It’s like if you’ve been dating a woman for a long time and she can’t cook. The first time you introduce her to your parents, you’re not going to ask her to cook dinner that night. You want her to put her best foot forward. It’s the same way in these pro days. I just think sometimes these so-called gurus (and) experts, it becomes more about them. I just want the kids to have a chance to be successful. Let’s put them in situations to showcase what they do well.”
King blames quarterback guru George Whitfield, who has worked with Winston since January, for the former Heisman Trophy winner’s lackluster showing.
“I think all of (the blame falls on Whitfield),” King said. “I respect George Whitfield. I think he does a good job with quarterbacks. But if someone’s going to pay you to prepare them for an interview, then I think part of that is you telling them yes and no as to what they’re going to actually do and say in the interview. He says Jameis wanted to do all these things. Well, (you’re) supposed to step in and say, ‘No, we’re not going to do those things. We’re going to focus on what we do really well, and we’re going to knock this out of the park.’”
While Winston could have fared a bit better Tuesday, King still believes Winston is a slam dunk for the No. 1 overall pick. In fact, King said that Winston is the second-best quarterback prospect he’s ever evaluated in his eight years in sports media.
“Jameis is second only to Andrew Luck,” King said. “I think he’s that good. Every throw he’s going to be asked to make, every situation that will come up in the National Football League, he’s done at Florida State – and done at a high level. And I think the one thing he has that might even supersede Luck in some areas is mental toughness. Think about what he was able to accomplish at Florida State and then imagine that age, your life, being able to do it with the scrutiny and the criticism that he endured and still perform game in and game out at the level that he did.”