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Jameis Winston selected by Buccaneers at No. 1

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new face of the franchise.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was selected with the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday night, a choice the Buccaneers hope will end decades of transience at the game's most important position.

Winston, who won the 2013 Heisman Trophy and a national championship during his successful run with the Seminoles, had been the favorite to go No. 1 for months. A prototypical drop-back passer with a strong arm, plus size and good positional instincts, Winston comes from a pro-style system that should aide his transition to the next level.

Winston wasn't in Chicago to share the obligatory first-round bear hug with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, opting instead to celebrate the occasion with friends and family in his native Alabama. Winston joins Vinny Testaverde (1987) as the only quarterbacks taken with the first overall pick in franchise history. He is the first Bucs quarterback to be taken in Round 1 since Josh Freeman went 17th overall in 2009.

Winston inherits a Bucs offense that finished 29th in scoring last season with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon seeing significant time behind center. McCown has since departed for the Browns, while Glennon -- a former second-round pick inherited by the current regime -- continues to be a popular subject of trade rumors.

Winston should be considered the heavy favorite to start Week 1. The last four quarterbacks to go first overall -- a group that includes Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford -- all became immediate starters. Winston inherits a Tampa Bay offense that includes Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up Mike Evans, three-time Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson and promising second-year tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins as pass catchers.

Winston's off-the-field issues at Florida State prompted speculation that the Bucs could go in another direction. He was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a Tallahassee grocery store in April 2014 and was the subject of a sexual assault investigation in 2013, though no charges were filed. Winston's brash attitude has also come into question. Bucs linebacker Lavonte David recently told The Tampa Tribune that veterans will advise Winston to "tone it down" upon his arrival.

After a careful vetting process, Tampa Bay decided Winston was worth the investment. Now he'll be asked to lead the franchise back to relevance. It's a big task for a quarterback with huge upside.

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