Overall, the workout showcased Winston's talents as an elite passer and eliminated any doubts about his ability to make every throw in the book. While it was certainly not perfect, the workout should pave the way for him to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Although Winston was expected to shine in a carefully scripted workout, he displayed all of the physical tools and athletic attributes desired in a franchise quarterback who is expected to come off the board as the No. 1 overall pick. From his outstanding physical dimensions -- Winston measured in at 6-foot-3, 231 pounds -- to his dazzling arm talent, Winston looked like a franchise quarterback in every aspect. Of course, this is what most scouts expected after watching Winston guide the Seminoles to a 26-1 record as a starter with a BCS National Championship title and an appearance in the College Football Playoff under his belt.
Studying Winston's pro-day performance, I was impressed with his arm talent. He is capable of making every throw in the book with zip and velocity, yet also displays the ability to finesse throws when necessary. Winston routinely delivered the ball within the receiver's strike zone on short and intermediate throws. He was consistently on-point with his ball placement on slants, quick outs, hinges and seam routes. Winston delivered the ball quickly after reaching the top of his drop; the timing and location on the majority of his throws was exceptional on his drop-back throws.
Winston continued to dazzle evaluators with his touch, precision and execution on a series of simulated play-action passes during the workout. Winston deftly executes ball fakes in the backfield before setting up and delivering accurate throws at the top of seven-step drops. He complemented his play-action work with a series of "elude and evade" throws that showcased his movement skills and agility within the pocket. Winston executed a few lateral movements after avoiding obstacles (bags and broomsticks) tossed in his direction before checking the ball down to running backs and receivers over the middle. The creative sequencing of multiple movements within the pocket allowed Winston to showcase his ability to change speeds and adjust his touch on passes based on the situation.
As a deep-ball thrower, Winston showed excellent range and arm strength tossing the ball down the field on go-routes and post routes. He consistently dropped the ball down the chute to the receiver in stride, exhibiting tremendous accuracy and touch. Granted, he suffered through a few drops by his receivers on a handful of deep balls, but coaches were able to see the outstanding accuracy, anticipation and placement on his vertical tosses.
From a mechanical standpoint, Winston continues to show improvement with his footwork and fundamentals as a passer. He has made significant progress throwing consistently from a balanced platform, which led to better ball placement and accuracy. In addition, Winston appeared to shorten his stride and utilize a more compact delivery during the workout. (He had a tendency to overstride during the regular season because of his extensive experience as a pitcher on the Seminoles' baseball team). While he must continue to refine his footwork and mechanics over the next few months, Winston's gradual improvement since the end of the season suggests he will play his best football going forward, as he won't have to split his time with baseball.
How much will the workout impact Winston's draft status?
Not much. He entered the day as the top quarterback prospect on the board; there was nothing that popped up during the pro day that will change that opinion in the minds of most scouts. Winston is a classic pocket passer with the arm talent to shine in any system. He shows solid footwork and mechanics executing drops from under center and in the shotgun, which makes him an easy "plug and play" quarterback for most offensive coordinators. Looking at his performance in the workout compared to his game tape, I believe he continues to exhibit the skills NFL evaluators expect from an elite quarterback.
What does Winston need to do to solidify being the No. 1 pick?
Winston needs to continue to shine in private workouts and interview sessions over the next few weeks. Offensive coordinators will put him through the paces in individual workouts to see if he can capably execute the passes that are staples in their respective game plans. Moreover, the coaches will put him on the board to assess his football IQ to see where he stands with his football knowledge. While most scouts and evaluators came away impressed with his football acumen in meetings at the NFL Scouting Combine, he will have a chance to convince evaluators that he has the intangibles and intelligence needed to shine as a franchise quarterback in the NFL.