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Evan Smith: Jameis Winston a young Aaron Rodgers

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The effusive praise emanating from Tampa Bay about rookie quarterback Jameis Winston reached new heights over the weekend.

Buccaneers center Evan Smith sent the plum of positivity into the stratosphere. Smith, who spent the beginning of his career with the Green Bay Packers, compared Winston to the studliest of studly quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers.

"I've only been around two other quarterbacks," Smith told Yahoo Sports' Eric Adelson. "I played with one who was really good. He reminds me of a very young version of him."

OK, Evan, let's not go overboard.

"Jameis hasn't taken a snap yet in this league," Smith conceded, before explaining his view. "When I first got to Green Bay, you could see the talent there, you could see Aaron was starting to take off as a superstar. You can tell Jameis has that potential."

The big difference in this comparison is that Smith arrived in Green Bay in 2009. By that time Rodgers was entering his fifth NFL season and second as the full-time starter. Winston has yet to take a snap in a preseason game. 

Still, Smith sees the potential in Winston.

"You see it with the brains," Smith said. "You definitely see the arm talent. That's one thing that will jump off the film at you. He obviously has a baseball background, and he knows how to throw it. But the anticipation on his throws is something that really wows you. Sometimes we watch film and say, 'Wow that was a really good throw.'"

Winston has the physical tools to be a successful NFL quarterback, maybe even a great one. But let's let him play a season -- how about even a game? -- before jumping on any comparison to a young version of the best player in the NFL.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Steve Smith's retirement news and predicts the training camp QB battles.

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