Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kiper Picks Winston as Rookie of the Year

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper believes Jameis Winston is the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.

On Thursday, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper broke down his all-rookie team. Four Buccaneers were listed, with one, Jameis Winston, being selected as his rookie of the year.

"You can argue that passing totals are up and we shouldn't get too excited about another great rookie season, but consider the company Winston is in after throwing for 4,042 yards," Kiper wrote. "Andrew Luck. Cam Newton. Peyton Manning. And Winston did it a year younger than Newton and Manning. The totals are nice; the rate of improvement is what is really impressive. This is what you hope to see in a No. 1 pick."

A photo timeline of Jameis Winston's rookie year with the Buccaneers.

Winston edged out St. Louis' Todd Gurley and Kansas City's Mitch Morse, who Kiper had also considered. Jets defensive end Leonard Williams was listed as his Defensive Rookie of the year, with Buffalo's Ronald Darby and Kansas City's Marcus Peters receiving consideration as well.

Winston's success was the tip of the iceberg, though. Linebacker Kwon Alexander, guard Ali Marpet and offensive tackle Donovan Smith were all listed on Kiper's all-rookie team. Smith started every snap for the Buccaneers at left tackle while Marpet and Alexander stepped in as starters for the first game of the 2015 season. Despite missing the final four games of the season, Alexander finished second on the Buccaneers in tackles with 93.

"Alexander lost time at the end of the season with a suspension, but he did really well when thrown into action," Kiper wrote, "(and) he won't turn 22 until training camp in August."

*For more from Kiper, click HERE.

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