By: Noah Nichols
When taking a look at most NFL rankings list, one thing has stood out that has not really made a lot of sense. The New Orleans Saints have been consistently ranked in the top 12.
But they don’t have a starting quarterback.
Oh sure, they have Taysom Hill, the “Swiss Army Knife” of the NFL, and of Sean Peyton’s offense. But even Peyton said that Hill is not locked in to start at quarterback. That means Jameis Winston has a chance to be the Saints starter in week one.
Winston probably has the better chance to be the starter over Hill, Winston has years of experience at quarterback. Seventy-six games in total, compared to Hill who has four.
If Winston is the presumed starter of the Saints, which he seems to be, how are the Saints ranking so highly on power rankings? They don’t have a starting quarterback. Winston has not lived up to the hype that surrounds him year in and year out. As far as number one overall picks go, he is clearly a bust. Winston is arguably the most overhyped quarterback in the league.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans called on the Steelers to sign him to be Ben Roethlisberger‘s backup, or even, start over him. The national media seemed to be surprised when Winston went unsigned for the longest time and called for the New England Patriots to sign Winston before they signed Cam Newton. Here are a few reasons why Winston is in fact, the most overhyped quarterback in the NFL, and should not be the reason the Saints are ranked so highly.
88. That is the number of interceptions that Winston has thrown in his career. And thirty of those came in one season. His touchdown to interception ratio is about 5-4. That means for every five touchdown passes that Winston has thrown, he has also thrown four interceptions.
Not exactly a group that you would want to be in.
The biggest takeaway (pun intended) from this statistic is that it will most likely never go away. Winston will always be turnover happy. Sean Peyton can draw some things up, and use his offensive minded genius to try and limit Winston’s mistakes.
But he can only do so much, and throwing interceptions seems to be in Winston’s nature. Unless the eye surgery that Winston received at the end of 2020 really fixes something, Winston will always be turnover happy.
If anything, this is the biggest thing that people gloss over when talking about Winston. They will hype him up, and talk about his talent, and what he can do in a new offense. But they ignore the fact that Winston turns the ball over more than any other quarterback in the NFL (save, perhaps, for Daniel Jones). If anything, Winston should be regarded as a backup, only, with no reason to see the field over a starter. He just makes too many detrimental plays for it to be otherwise.
Did not start last year
Another issue that is commonly ignored, Winston did not start last year. He should have been able to take the starting job from a player who had never started a game at quarterback. Instead, Taysom Hill won the job and Winston was his backup.
How does that happen? It doesn’t, if Winston was any good.
Now, Winston does have talent. He is not washed. But he is very risky to play, for the aforementioned reasons. But the fact that he did not start last year, in a very quarterback-friendly offense, is not a good sign for Winston. He would have been able to hand the ball off to an elite running back and had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL blocking for him.
Still, he did not start. That is a huge red flag and should bring down the hype surrounding him. Until Winston starts, he should be regarded as nothing more than a backup with lots of upside, and loads of risk.
He has never lived up to expectations
Winston was drafted with the number one overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL draft. He was supposed to be the savior of the Buccaneers franchise. Obviously, he has not lived up to those expectations.
And while those were heavy expectations, Winston did not come close to meeting them. In the new era of the NFL, where passing the football is king, Winston has clearly underperformed. He has passed for 25 touchdowns or more only twice in his career, once in 2016 and in 2019, for 28 and 33 touchdowns respectively.
He also threw 18 and 30 interceptions during those same years. Yes, he was not in the best situation and did not always have the help that he needed. But in the year where he had Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, two number one receivers, he threw thirty interceptions. Thirty. If anyone else in the NFL threw that many interceptions, they would be lambasted and laughed out of the league.
But somehow, someway, Winston is still regarded as a good quarterback. He simply is not worth the hype that he receives. If he takes the Saints to the playoffs, great. But he hasn’t even won the starting job yet, much less fixed his natural ability to throw interceptions like Derrick Henry throws defenders.