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NFL GM: Jameis Winston will provide 'fascinating case study'

John David Mercer/USA TODAY
Jameis Winston and Florida State will face off against Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

An AFC general manager says Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is "going to be a fascinating case study" whenever he declares for the draft.

Winston, a third-year sophomore, is eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft and has said a decision on whether to turn pro will come after the season. The AFC GM told Sports Illustrated that heavy scrutiny will follow.

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"Oh, if I needed a quarterback, you bet your (expletive) I'd have boots on the ground in Tallahassee -- a lot of them -- as soon as he declared for the draft," he said to SI. "Because on the field there's something special there. The problem is can you ever trust him? Are you going to be able to sleep at night? That's a rough deal with a quarterback."

Seemingly every story on Winston involves the on-field/off-field dichotomy, and that will remain the overriding theme until he actually is drafted, whenever that might be.

Winston hasn't been as sharp this season (3,559 yards, 24 TDs, 17 interceptions, 65.4 completion percentage) as he was last season as a redshirt freshman (4,057 yards, 40 TDs, 10 picks, 66.9 completion percentage). "There are some halves where he seems to be sleepwalking," the GM told SI. "Then he's brilliant for long stretches. I don't get it."

Personnel losses at wide receiver, tailback and center have changed the complexion of the Seminoles' offense this season, and FSU is far more reliant on Winston's right arm than it was last fall.

Plus, while the Seminoles aren't blowing teams out -- seven wins by six or fewer points, including each of the past four, compared to just one win by fewer than 14 points last season -- they are unbeaten and in the hunt for a second consecutive national title. A big part of that is Winston's competitiveness.

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Veteran Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown told SI that "(Winston's) competitive nature is off the charts" and that "he will fight you on every play until his last dying breath."

Brown is high on Winston's abilities and sees him succeeding in the NFL.

"He can make all the throws," he told the magazine. "I think he's cerebral. (Coach) Jimbo Fisher has a pretty good pro-oriented system."

The next opportunity to see Winston in action comes Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl, when he leads FSU into a playoff semifinal against Oregon.

NFL Media analyst Charles Davis has written that Winston should remain in school for his junior season, but Fisher said last week he thought Winston would be one of the top two players taken in the 2015 draft were he to leave FSU.

If Winston does leave, let the "case study" begin.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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