Source: Jameis Winston 'in play' for Titans if available at No. 2

ByPaul Kuharsky ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass on Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the NFL draft, the Florida State quarterback will be "in play" for the Tennessee Titans at No. 2, a source tells

The Titans have done their homework on Winston, and the team feels he "checks out," according to the source. The pending civil lawsuit against him connected to a sexual assault accusation for which he was never charged would not dictate the team's decision regarding Winston, the source said.

While the team does see maturity issues, Winston made a fantastic impression during his April 13 visit to Titans headquarters. That wasn't only with high-ranking employees, but with everyone he encountered in the building.

The Titans anticipate that Winston will go to Tampa Bay before they are on the clock with the second pick next week. That would put them in position to choose Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota out of Oregon.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt emphasized Monday that Mariota's ability to read defenses out of the Ducks' read-option gives him NFL qualities.

Mariota had to know both pass protections and run-blocking schemes to operate the offense, Whisenhunt said.

Zach Mettenberger, a sixth-round pick last year out of LSU, is the Titans' incumbent starter at quarterback.

With a big arm and good size, Mettenberger has a skill set Whisenhunt likes in a quarterback. Winston shares those qualities, too.

The Titans could deal out of the spot or go away from quarterback if they stay at No. 2, turning to an option such as USC defensive end Leonard Williams, an edge pass-rusher or a receiver.

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