Jameis Winston is likely to become the first overall pick in 2015 NFL Draft, but unlike most number one overall picks he will not stand on stage in front of NFL fans that attended the draft and cameras broadcasting it around the world, shake the commissioner’s, and receive a jersey of the team that drafted him with his name and college number. Winston will not be there, because Winston declined the invitation citing wanting to stay home with family instead. While I am sure wanting to share the experience of being drafted with his family is part of his reasons for not going, I believe the uniqueness of him being the top pick with off the field issues and being in front of everyday people that could lead to an experience he would remember for all the wrong reasons.
Winston is expected to be the top pick, but if he is not the top pick and drops several spots the draft will quickly become a nightmare where he is the joke character on a reality TV show he did not know he signed up for. Aaron Rodgers and Geno Smith both had to uncomfortably sit in front of cameras after watching team after team call another player’s name. For viewers of the draft watching a player that analysts have been saying for weeks would be picked in the top ten be picked after twenty can add excitement to the draft, but I imagine the player has a completely different experience. Anyone watching the draft will closely study the facial expressions a player makes every time Roger Goodell calls a different player’s name and make snap judgments about the player’s toughness. If he shows any sign of disappointment, some fans will see that player as soft for getting emotional about not getting picked higher or ungrateful for not being happy to have the chance to enter the NFL and make millions of dollars. Many fans have a hard time relating to players, but put in a similar position they would likely have a hard time suppressing their emotions. Being picked in the top 20 instead of the top 10 will result in a loss of millions of dollars. A player dropping in the NFL draft is similar to someone investing in a promising stock expecting it to grow only to see it completely tank losing them a lot of money while the world sees how you handle it on national TV.
As of now it seems unlikely that Winston drops in the draft, so the most likely reason for him to skip the draft is the very high possibility of embarrassment from the people attending the draft ripping him. Donovan McNabb was scared for life when Eagles fan booed him while he was on stage shaking the commissioner’s hand, and that could be nothing compared to what Winston could hear. With Winston being accused of rape and caught stealing crab legs, it would not be shocking to hear people chanting rapist when Winton’s name is called and he walks on stage. While athletes have to have thick skin and can expect to be called every name in the book on road games and Twitter, the NFL Draft is a second graduation for college players and I cannot see why Winston would choose to subject himself and his family to that just to uphold a tradition that does not affect him.