The Chicago Bears have already met with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the run-up to the 2015 NFL Draft, but this week they will reportedly meet with another signal-caller, as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston visits with the team.
The report, which comes from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, says that the Bears will meet with Winston in Chicago on Wednesday. The quarterback has already indicated that he will not be coming to the city for the draft, which takes place later this month.
Winston has been considered a strong candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, with his record of accomplishment at Florida State and his cannon arm, but his off-field issues during his collegiate career could potentially scare some teams off. He was investigated for sexual assault during his freshman year at the college in 2012, and in 2014 he was suspended for a game for shouting an obscene phrase while at the student union in Tallahassee.
Despite his off-field issues, NFL teams are still very much intrigued by Winston because of his skill set. He is more advanced than Mariota at dropping back in the pocket and scanning the field, and he’s a more accurate quarterback when he’s throwing deeper passes. Both of those qualities would likely appeal to the Bears as they look to get not only a successor for Jay Cutler on the roster, but also a player that can be a serious NFL quarterback.
In any event, however, it seems unlikely that Winston would fall back to the Bears. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in definite need of a quarterback, and teams like the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets would be hard-pressed to pass him up as well. The Bears could potentially trade the seventh overall pick if Winston is available, as teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns could put together really lucrative packages to acquire the selection.