The entire nation saw the performance that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston put on against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Labor Day. The numbers themselves are staggering (25-of-27, 356 yards and four touchdowns), but when you look at the film, his raw talent jumps off the screen.
After watching the film, here’s an early scouting report of what Winston showed in his college debut.
Not only was he able to complete 25-of-27 passes, the location of Winston’s throws was impeccable. On both short and intermediate throws, Winston hit his receivers in stride and on time. By doing so, his receivers were able to run after the catch, something they did all night. Although he didn’t have a lot of deep throws, the few that he did throw were passed with tremendous accuracy. While it’s unlikely he can replicate the ridiculous completion percentage he had, there’s no doubt he has tremendous accuracy.
This is perhaps the attribute that is most often talked about when scouts look at Winston. The ball explodes out of his hand, allowing him to make all the throws. He drives the ball to the sidelines very well, and can fit the ball in tight spaces. Additionally, he threw the ball exceptionally well while on the move.
Winston’s first career touchdown pass highlighted his ability to keep his eyes downfield and move subtly in the pocket. Facing a blitz, Winston moved slightly to his left, allowing tight end Nick O’Leary to break open and get separation from the safety. He did similar things throughout the rest of the evening as well. With the rush in his face, he was able to stay alive, read the secondary and deliver the ball time and again.
Winston displayed a smooth, quick release that allows him to throw with great timing. Both in the pocket and on the move, his release was short and efficient.
Not only did he have a few designed runs that were successful, he hung in the pocket and took a few shots. Perhaps the best example was on a third-and-17 in the second quarter. Rather than flushing out of the pocket when pressured, he held his ground, delivered a strike to Rashad Greene and moved the chains.
Like most Jimbo Fisher-coached quarterbacks, Winston has excellent footwork in the pocket. He gets great depth in his drops and has excellent weight transfer as he throws the ball. He displayed outstanding foot speed as well, allowing him to avoid the rush and escape the pocket.
Winston has only made one collegiate start, but what a debut it was. Against Pittsburgh, he looked like he had the entire package to be an outstanding quarterback. I’ve scouted a number of quarterbacks for the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, and Winston has every bit the talent that even the best of them possess.
He appears to be a remarkable talent.