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Jameis Winston compared to draft bust JaMarcus Russell

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At least two NFL personnel executives see bust potential in Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the presumptive top pick in next week's draft.

One thing to note: Both executives were quoted anonymously, meaning there were no names attached to their criticisms.


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One of the executives brought up former Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell -- one of the biggest draft busts ever -- when discussing Winston with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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"Lack of focus by JaMarcus is what I see in Winston," one of the personnel men said. "They're physically talented, but during the course of a game they kind of lose their focus and just put the ball up for grabs.

"I see the body. I see the lack of focus. I see the same coach and system. Only Winston's not as good an athlete and his arm isn't as strong as JaMarcus'."

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher was Russell's offensive coordinator at LSU. In addition, first-round quarterbacks Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel were coached by Fisher at FSU, and neither has impressed in the NFL.

"We're looking at another guy (Winston) that's a product of the system and has tremendous athletes around him," the other personnel man said. "Oh, my goodness.

"Is this guy really going to be the first pick of the draft? You'd be drafting a quarterback that can't run, has off-field problems, has no power in his legs and makes bad decisions on the field. Somebody's going to make a horrible mistake."

It's one thing to criticize Winston anonymously; it's another to compare him to Russell. Winston had great success, including winning the Heisman and a national title, as a collegian; Russell was a solid starter at LSU for two seasons, but worth noting is that LSU won the national title in 2007, the year after Russell left. Russell had great measurables and a cannon for an arm, and was the No. 1 pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 draft. But he lasted just three NFL seasons and, above all else, was criticized for his work ethic and for never really being in shape.


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It's certainly possible that Winston doesn't pan out. If he doesn't, his work ethic won't be the reason.

As for the anonymous nature of the quotes? People are quick to criticize and find fault when there is no attribution. But asking for negatives and attaching a name? In that scenario, few people are willing to comment.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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