Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher believes quarterback Jameis Winston would be one of the top two players chosen in the 2015 NFL Draft if the third-year sophomore chooses to forego his last two years of NCAA eligibility. But whether Winston is ready to take that chance is anyone's guess.
The Seminoles coach told the "Mike and Mike" radio show he "wouldn't be shocked either way," in regard to his star quarterback's pending career choice. The deadline for college underclassmen to declare their draft intentions is Jan. 15. Winston could be playing for the Seminoles as late as Jan. 12 if FSU advances to the national championship game with a Rose Bowl win over Oregon on Jan. 1.
"We're going to have a talk here in the next couple days before we go to break. I really don't know. I really don't. Jameis loves college football, but I think he's going to be one of the top two players drafted at the same time," Fisher said. "He's got to make a choice. He's got to see what he wants to do. It would not shock me either way. I understand if he wants to go when a guy is that high. He's a very, very good student. He's very smart, but he loves playing baseball, he loves his time in college, he loves all the interaction of this, believe it or not. It would not shock me either way. We'll have those discussions soon."
Winston's well-documented off-field troubles could potentially damage his draft status, depending on how NFL clubs come to assess his character. Winston faced an FSU code-of-conduct hearing earlier this month on a sexual assault allegation for which he was not legally charged. While that allegation has followed Winston for more than a year, various displays of immaturity -- from stealing crab legs from a Tallahassee, Fla., grocer to being suspended for shouting an obscene phrase on campus -- have added to questions about his character. The judge who presided over the hearing has yet to rule.
Winston's play has also raised scouting concerns, as his interception total rose from 10 in 2013 as a freshman, to 17 this season. Fisher told Mike and Mike that some 70 percent of Winston's interceptions have not been the quarterback's fault. An NFL scout wasn't so forgiving in calling Winston "a nightmare" who consistently got off to slow starts this year as FSU trailed at the half in five games.