The Buccaneers struggled to find a franchise quarterback throughout their entire history, dating back to 1976. However, many believed that they finally found one on April 30, 2015 when they selected Jameis Winston with the number one overall pick. Through two seasons, it looks like those who held that belief may be right.
The 2017 NFL Draft is less than a month away, meaning quarterback Jameis Winston has been with the Buccaneers for almost two full years. When he was selected first overall in 2015, the hope was that he would become Tampa Bay’s first true franchise quarterback ever. From the looks of it, he is well on his way to being that and more.
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He has led the team to 6-10 and 9-7 records in his first two years, so the winning isn’t where everyone ultimately wants it to be. But, at 23 years old, Winston still has his career ahead of him. He still has some developing to do and time to do it. But in just two seasons, No. 3 is near the top of the franchise’s all-time passing statistics.
In 32 career games, Winston has thrown for 8,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His 8,132 passing yards put him at seventh on the Bucs’ all-time list, while his 50 touchdown passes also put him at seventh. Averaging out both of those categories, he has thrown for 4,066 yards and 25 touchdowns per year.
If he can put up those same numbers in 2017 (for estimation purposes), he would have 12,198 yards and 75 touchdowns. That would put him in fifth place in all-time passing yards for the franchise and third all-time in passing touchdowns. If those numbers stay the same for 2018, Winston would be on top of both categories. That’s pretty impressive.
Sure, Winston’s detractors will turn up their noses at this idea that he is already so high on these lists. They’ll say that being so prominent on a list of the Bucs’ best quarterbacks is no accomplishment at all, given the team’s history with the position. But isn’t that counter-productive to the point that his critics will want to make?
Winston is 23 years old, yet he is statistically almost as good, if not better, than any quarterback the franchise has ever had. That’s a testament to his talent and bright future. He has time to develop and get Tampa Bay back to being perennial contenders. General manager Jason Licht, his front office and head coach Dirk Koetter have to be thrilled with where Winston is just two years into his career.
With weapons like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries, (as well as maybe a new addition?), Winston can win now and for the foreseeable future. He needs to rack up some winning seasons in order to truly feel like one of the franchise’s best ever. Statistically, though, he’s almost there already.
Can Winston be the best quarterback in team history? Time will definitely tell, but he’s well on his way after just two seasons.