However NFL-ready Jameis Winston might be as a quarterback, the Florida State star might be wise to put off the NFL draft next year and spend another season at the college level for the sake of his maturity. That was among the sentiments NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah expressed on the latest College Football 24/7 podcast in the wake of Winston's suspension this week.
"The guy's had so many different things pop up during his time there, it might make more sense for him to stay in school longer than people expect him to, just to put some distance between himself and the issues he's had," Jeremiah said. "He needs to have a period of time where he's stayed clean."
Indications are that Winston has been of a mind to stay at Florida State for at least another year after this one, anyway. His father, Antonor Winston, said in June that his son would be at FSU through the 2015 season. Less than a month later, at the Manning Passing Academy, Winston refused to comment on his father's assertion, but told College Football 24/7 that he intended to stay in school long enough to earn his degree from FSU, which would likely require him to stay at FSU at least through the 2015 football season.
The latest Winston transgression came on Tuesday, when he reportedly yelled a vulgar phrase at the FSU student union. A day later, the school suspended Winston for the first half of Saturday's game against Clemson. Since arriving at FSU in 2012, the third-year sophomore has been accused of behavior as serious as sexual assault, for which he was not legally charged, and as mild as stealing a soda from a restaurant. He's also been cited for stealing crab legs from a grocery store, but has never been suspended from the football team until Wednesday.
"I've never seen a guy screw it up as bad as Jameis Winston after winning the Heisman Trophy. We knew about the sexual assault allegations, but then you have the incident at Publix ... the situation here where he is in the (student) union, and makes a statement that is very regrettable," added NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks. "I just don't understand how a guy who is the leader of the team just doesn't understand how to figure it out. We can talk about youth and other stuff, but at a certain point he has to understand that he's at a different level."
Added Jeremiah: "The quarterback position, when you're in those draft rooms, character is discussed more than any other position on the team. It's a cumulative effect."
In what is expected to be the Seminoles' toughest game of the season, Winston will sit out the first half and watch FSU backup quarterback Sean Maguire manage FSU's first ACC game of the season with limited experience. If the Tigers manage to upset the defending national champions with the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner on the bench for a half, Winston will no doubt draw criticism from his most staunch defenders: his own fan base.