With the NFL's collective concern over character issues and off-the-field red flags at an all-time high, Jameis Winston's most recent misstep couldn't have come at a worse time. As if the rape allegations and crab theft weren't enough to scare potential draft suitors away, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner earned a suspension from Florida State's win over Clemson Saturday night for shouting sexually-charged obscenities on campus last week.
Though there has been no noticeable dropoff in Winston's onfield performance this season, there have been whispers of his lowering draft stock in the eyes of NFL front offices. Tony Dungy, former coach of the Colts and Buccaneers and current NBC Sports football analyst, joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss the risk of selecting a quarterback with Winston's warning signs. When asked whether or not he would draft the reigning Heisman winner, Dungy said no.
"As of now, I wouldn't," said the two-time Super Bowl winner. "I'd have to do a lot of research and go in and talk to him. But you don't want the face of your franchise and the guy you're going to take with one of the top five picks to have all those off-the-field issues. You just don't."
If Winston were to fall into the late first, early second round a la Teddy Bridgewater or Geno Smith from recent years, Dungy said it would be a little easier to pull the trigger.
"I think that's what happens. The money differential is different. You don't have as big an investment and the expectations aren't there."
But according to the former coach, the risks could still potentially come back to bite the team that drafts Winston. Just look at the situation in Cleveland.
"If he becomes your starting quarterback and the issues aren't resolved, you still have the same problems. You have the same thing with Johnny Manziel whether you took him with the first pick or the 25th pick."