“Any time you get an opportunity to get a franchise quarterback, that we believe and are very confident is a franchise quarterback, it excites you,” said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht. “He’s a champion, he’s a leader, he’s a winner, he’s got tremendous football character and tremendous intelligence and work ethic.”
With this selection, Winston becomes the fifth player ever selected by Tampa Bay with the No. 1 overall pick, joining Vinny Testaverde (1987), Bo Jackson (1986), Ricky Bell (1977) and Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon (1976). He is the fifth quarterback the team has selected in the first round, joining Josh Freeman (17th overall, 2009), Trent Dilfer (sixth overall, 1994), Testaverde and Doug Williams (17th overall, 1978). Winston is one of three Tampa Bay first-round selections from Florida State, joining Warrick Dunn (12th overall, 1997) and Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks (28th, 1995). Tampa Bay’s three first-round selections from Florida State are tied for the most of any school (also Alabama, Oklahoma).
Winston (6-4, 230) started 27 career games at Florida State, completing 562-of-841 passes (66.8 pct.) for 7,964 yards, with 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He also rushed 145 times for 284 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bessemer, Alabama native won his first 26 starts, an NCAA Division I record, leading Florida State to a national championship in 2013 and the first-ever College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl in 2014. He won the 2013 Heisman Trophy award, along with the Davey O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Award and Manning Award. Wisnton is the youngest player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, winning the award at age 20.
During his two seasons as a starter for the Seminoles, Winston set national, conference and school records. In 2013, he posted a 184.84 pass efficiency rating, the fourth-best mark in NCAA history and an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Florida State record. He holds the ACC career records for passing yards per game (295.0) and touchdown passes per game (2.41). Winston also holds Florida State records for most consecutive touchdown passes (27) and yards per attempt (9.4), while tying Chris Weinke for the most 300-yard games in school history. He also holds the single season school records for completions (305 – 2014), touchdown passes (40 – 2013) and yards per attempt (10.3 – 2013).
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