NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein says Winston is his No. 5 quarterback in the past five years, saying Winston would've been the first quarterback selected in the 2013 and 2014 drafts; the third quarterback in 2012, behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III; the second quarterback in 2011, behind Newton; and the second in 2010 behind Bradford. Bradford, Luck, and Newton were No. 1 overall picks, and Griffin went second overall.
Fellow analyst Gil Brandt calls Winston "an elite talent" and one of the top 10 quarterback talents of the past decade.
"Outside of the perceived negativeness about his character, it's very hard to find something negative about the guy," Brandt says.
Brandt cites Winston's competitiveness and winning ways as big positives. Winston won a state championship in high school in Alabama, and he won a national title and lost just one game in two seasons as a starter at Florida State.
"He has the size that you want; he has the arm strength that you want," Brandt says. "He's a lot smarter than people give him credit for.
"There are a lot of pluses."
In a podcast earlier this month, analyst Daniel Jeremiah said, "Skill-wise, (Winston) stacks up there pretty high."
"You've got JaMarcus Russell on the bust end and then you've got Ben Roethlisberger as the ultimate of what he could be with his skill set," Jeremiah said. "I'm not concerned with him being another JaMarcus Russell.
"He loves football, and he's very, very bright."
Brandt agrees with the "very bright" scouting report.
"The guy has above-average intelligence," Brandt says. "With a quarterback, that's where it starts."