Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Takeaways: Licht, Smith on Winston

Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht spoke to the media on Thursday after the Buccaneers selected quarterback Jameis Winston with the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

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READ: BUCS DRAFT JAMEIS WINSTON1. Jameis Winston made it clear – he wanted to be a Buccaneer.
Did Winston want to play in Tampa? "Yes, he did. Almost from the start," Head Coach Lovie Smith said. "He played in the state of Florida. There is a big group of Florida State fans that have watched him play throughout. He loves it down here." Smith added, "He made that known early on that he wanted to (be here) and he knew what he was getting himself into. His dream has come true."

2. General Manager Jason Licht noticed Winston very early in the scouting process.
Licht wouldn't say exactly when he decided that Winston was the pick, but admitted that the quarterback's been on the top of the Bucs' draft board for quite a while. "As a football player, (we decided) a long time ago," Licht said. "You have to let the process play out with all players. You have to make sure that all players that you're selecting, that you check all the boxes with them. We checked a lot of boxes with Jameis. It's been some time, quite some time. I don't want to put a time on it, a date span. It's been quite some time."

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  1. Winston's former teammates consider him "the best leader they've ever played with."**
    What makes Winston such a good leader? "He raises the bar of all the players around him," Licht said. "Guys start talking football with him and they just want to run out on the sand lot and start having a seven-on-seven practice. Every player that we've talked to says that he's the best leader that they've ever played with."

4. The Bucs had to listen to trade offers, but preferred Winston all along.
ESPN's Jay Glazer reported that the Eagles offered the Buccaneers two No. 1 picks and a quarterback for the top spot. Would Smith have considered it, if it were true? "No," Smith said. "When you have the first pick there are a lot of calls coming back and forth. When you're in that role, and we plan on being in that role one time – this year - you have to take advantage of it. Our guy was there that we wanted so why would you listen to any of those things?"

5. Winston plays his best under pressure.
There are obviously high expectations for Winston after being selected with the first overall pick in the draft. But Licht doesn't expect him to fold under the heavy pressure of being a top pick.  In fact, he thinks Winston will thrive. "There are big expectations," Licht said. "That's one of the things with Jameis that set him apart as well. He can play in some pressure now. He plays his best in the clutch. You see that on film, you can see that watching games. The more pressure – the better he plays."

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