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Casserly: Winston not as good as Sam Bradford out of college

Despite mixed reviews on how he performed at Florida State's pro day, there is seemingly nothing stopping quarterback Jameis Winston from going No. 1 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But how does Winston measure up against other signal-callers who went high in the draft? According to former general manager and current NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly, pretty well.

"I think he's better than RG3, better than Cam Newton, better than Blake Bortles," Casserly said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft." "I do not think he's as good as Matt Stafford or Sam Bradford, who were also picked first."

Newton, of course, did go first overall and has had a pretty good start to his career in Carolina after setting a number of records and leading his team to the playoffs. While the jury is still out on a number of others, like Robert Griffin III in Washington, it's not hard to understand why Winston is being mentioned in the same sentence as other quarterbacks who have gone in the top five of the draft.

In addition to being the top-ranked signal-caller in this year's class of draft prospects, Winston has been praised for his accuracy, anticipation, and pocket awareness, which will help him make an easier transition to an NFL offense than some of his peers. While there are concerns over Winston's off-the-field issues, his talent is going to be appealing for a franchise in need of a quarterback. In addition, the change to rookie contracts in the new collective bargaining agreement does limit the Bucs' risk in taking Winston at No. 1, unlike other teams in the past.

"If you think this guy has the talent, to me, you say to ownership that you know there's an element of risk about maturity, but this guy has the talent -- take him," Casserly added. "If it doesn't work out, the next year you do the same thing, and you're paying for a backup quarterback at that point. To me the decision has changed dramatically when you're not paying the guy $50 million guaranteed."

A quarterback that's better than somebody like Newton for the price of a backup signal-caller certainly sounds like an appealing situation for the Bucs if that ends up being the case.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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