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Evaluators: Jameis Winston should put off draft, stay at FSU

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Melina Vastola/USA Today Sports
Scouts say off-field issues have damaged Florida State QB Jameis Winston's draft stock.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah suggested last week on the College Football 24/7 Podcast that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would be wise to put off the NFL draft and return to FSU next year as he tries to rehabilitate his image.


Winston's off-the-field incidents

Incident (Nov. 2012): Stopped at gunpoint
Winston detained by police at gunpoint, and investigated for damage at apartment complex from BB gun fight.

Incident (Dec. 2012): Sexual assault allegation
Winston was not charged with sexual assault after being under investigation in a case from Dec. 7, 2012.

Incident (April 2014): Shoplifting crab legs
Cited for shoplifting crab legs from a grocery store.

Incident (Sept. 2014): Obscene comments in public
Suspended for shouting vulgar remark in FSU's student union.

Incident (Oct. 2014): Report: Police obstructed probe
Investigation reveals that FSU and Tallahassee police hid sexual assault allegations.

Incident (Oct. 2014): FSU looks into autographs
Florida State investigating if Winston accepted money for autographs.

It appears many are following Jeremiah's lead this week.

"I think that's a pretty easy decision," a former NFL general manager told si.com. "That would be my 100 percent advice. Come back and say, 'Look, I made mistakes and learned from them. I have over a year of impeccable behavior that shows what I learned.' Without question, that would go a long way."

Winston, who was suspended for FSU's overtime win over Clemson for shouting an obscenity while in the school's student union, managed to make himself look bad again Saturday when he emerged to warm up prior to the game in full uniform despite his suspension. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher offered a half-baked explanation for that miscue on Monday, assigning blame to a miscommunication between the coaching staff and the equipment staff.

But while Fisher's explanation might have to be good enough for the public, it doesn't have to be good enough for NFL clubs tasked with deciding whether to invest a high draft pick in a player with a track record of troubling off-field behavior.

"I'm not sure he's at a toxic level yet, but he's starting to get there," an NFL scout said, according to the si.com report. "The alarm bells have sounded. ... If you were to buy this guy, he's your quarterback and you are invested in him, and you tie yourself at the hip to him. You never saw RGIII or Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning doing this kind of stuff."

Said another scout, per the si.com report: "He's a big-ass immature kid. I think he needs to stay another year and prove that he can keep himself clean. Maybe even two more years. The skill is there, but ..."

According to the report, former Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens defensive back Samari Rolle believes Winston would make a mistake by declaring for the 2015 draft, too. Rolle played at Florida State as well, and reportedly texted to cousin and ex-Seminole Myron Rolle: "He needs to stay another year."

Players of Winston's obvious talent, particularly those with a national championship and a Heisman Trophy, would typically be under intense pressure from family, agents and friends to begin mining NFL gold as soon as possible. But if this keeps up, the pressure on Winston to stay in school might ultimately be greater than the pressure on him to leave.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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