Count Michael Vick among those who see Jameis Winston flourishing in pro football, calling the Florida State quarterback "the future of the NFL."
Just how soon that future will come, however, remains to be seen. Winston still has two years of NCAA eligibility remaining, but as a third-year sophomore, he is eligible to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.
"I think he's a great player. I've been around so long, I appreciate guys coming out of college. I look forward to watching him. I have high expectations for him," Vick said, according to nj.com. "I think he, over time, has made some poor decisions. Have I been there to know exactly what happened? No. But I do know one thing: He may make some poor decisions, but he gets on that football field and he plays his (tail) off. Yeah, he can mature. He'll mature. I see him maturing as time goes on. Like, this year hasn't been as bad of a year as the first year was for Jameis. I think the kid will continue to improve. I think he's the future of the NFL."
Friday morning, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he believes Winston would be one of the first two players chosen in the draft, but has no idea what decision he will ultimately make regarding declaring early or returning to college.
While Vick called Winston the future of the NFL, however, he also cautioned that no rookie quarterback can succeed in the NFL without the rest of a winning team already in place.
"If he ain't got guys blocking for him, then he ain't going to succeed. If he ain't got guys catching the ball, he ain't going to succeed. If the defense can't stop nobody, then there's pressure on him to score, (on) the whole offense. This is the total team game," Vick said. "There's no other game like the NFL. One quarterback can't do it. One receiver can't do it all. And it's been proven year after year after year."
Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2013, faces Oregon in at the Rose Bowl Jan. 1 in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
For now, he can just be the future of the Seminoles.