NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Everybody expects Jameis Winston to come off the board first overall in next month’s NFL Draft. And the team with that pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have shown plenty of interest in the Florida State quarterback.
But the New York Jets are doing their due diligence, as expected, with a delegation on hand for Winston’s pro day workout in Tallahassee, Fla. on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Many mock drafts have the other top quarterback available, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, falling to the Jets at No. 6. If Winston, whose off-field issues have been well-documented, slips out of the top spot, it’s likely he’d be snatched up by Tennessee with the second selection.
The Jets — who are looking at a competition this summer between embattled incumbent Geno Smith and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick — are in need of a franchise quarterback, though the price tag to trade up to No. 1 would be astronomical, perhaps several first-round picks.
“I would say, simply, that I think when it comes to the draft, to me, you tend to want to take the best player available, in theory,” new Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said earlier this month, according to NJ.com. “In my mind, if the best player available were at that pick, I’m not going to say we’re going to lock into a certain player or a certain position, but that’s the approach you want to take.
“We have a long evaluation process to go through, to get to that point. I would say, simply, I don’t think any player is either on or off our board, in terms of what we would do, based on our current roster.”
Of course, other NFL prospects are working out at Florida State’s pro day, too. The Jets were seen speaking with defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. and offensive lineman Cam Erving on Tuesday morning, according to Tallahassee.com.
But all eyes are on Winston. There’s a reason why so many teams — even those with no realistic shot at drafting him — are on hand to watch him throw: 7,964 yards, 65 touchdowns, a 66.0 completion percentage and a 26-1 record as a starter, including a national championship, in two seasons with the Seminoles.
“We’re going to do our homework on those guys at the top of the draft, but then we’re going to do our diligence on all the guys that could possibly go at six,” Jets rookie head coach Todd Bowles said last week from the league’s meetings in Arizona. “It’s not just the quarterbacks, it’s all of them. But, yes, we are going to look at (Mariota and Winston).”
The Jets attended Mariota’s pro day earlier this month and reportedly held a private workout with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner over the weekend.