Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston might have a couple more years of college eligibility to gain some much-needed maturity, but NFL scouts aren't waiting until then to begin forming their opinions of him.
In the wake of his suspension for Saturday's game against Clemson -- levied by the school, not coach Jimbo Fisher, for shouting a vulgar phrase in public -- an NFL scout told NFL Media's Albert Breer that the Seminoles' third-year sophomore is a fraud, and left no doubt about whether Winston's issues at FSU have damaged his future stock for the NFL draft.
"It'll hurt him significantly," said the area scout, who is assigned to Florida State, per Breer. "Especially with all the stuff going on in the league. This may force him to stay another year to clean up his image. He's a fraud. You can't believe anything he says, because he keeps doing the same things over and over. In my mind, there are night-and-day differences between (Johnny) Manziel's and his character concerns. Winston has some serious issues."
Added an AFC college scouting director, "It just adds to his issues, and he's only been in college two years and a month. Lots of maturity issues, but also criminal."
Winston was investigated in a sexual assault case last year, but did not face charges. Florida State is currently conducting a Title IX investigation into the incident. Winston was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a Tallahassee, Fla., grocery store in April.
As a third-year sophomore, Winston would be eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft if he decided to turn pro after this season. However, indications are that he will stay in college through next year and enter the draft in 2016 or, at the latest, 2017. Winston is on track to have his college degree on or before the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, and has said earning a degree is something he wants to do before leaving FSU.
Winston won the Heisman Trophy and a national title with the Seminoles last season.