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Attorney says Jameis Winston 'not ready to be an NFL player off the field'

As the pre-draft workouts and combine numbers have proven, Jameis Winston is ready to become an NFL quarterback from an on-the-field standpoint.

So much so that Winston is expected to be the first player picked in the NFL draft on April 30.

But attorney David Cornwell, who has advised and represented the former Florida State quarterback, said Friday that Winston is not ready to be an NFL player off the field -- yet.

"He's ready to be an NFL player on the field," Cornwell told Villanova's Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium. "But he's not ready to be an NFL player off the field."

Winston had a number of well-publicized off-field issues at Florida State. Along with a sexual assault allegation, Winston also found himself in hot water for a BB gun fight, shoplifting crab legs from a grocery store and standing on a cafeteria table on campus while shouting obscenities.

Winston's situation is not "unique," according to Cornwell, who said that most players entering the draft aren't ready to enter the NFL from a maturity standpoint.

"I don't think anyone is ready," Cornwell said. "No one is ready for this [NFL] world when they come into it."

And because of that, Cornwell and others are helping Winston work on that aspect. There are also resources the NFL provides to rookies to help them adjust to the NFL life.

Winston was never charged with the sexual assault, and he was cleared of any violations of Florida State's conduct code. But his reputation was damaged, making him one of the most investigated players in the history of the draft.

Now it's up to Winston to continue to grow and mature -- with the help of Cornwell and his support system -- as the final days leading up to the draft wind down.

One step Winston took was to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials in New York for over five hours during the first week of March to talk about his past and to reassure those in attendance that he was mature enough to make the jump to the NFL.

While the meeting went well, Cornwell admitted that it would take a lot more than that to prove Winston's past was totally behind him.

"We have to assist him in growing and developing as a man," Cornwell said. "And it's not going to be easy.

"If he messes up again, he's done."

Winston set the national freshman record in 2013 with 40 touchdown passes while throwing for 4,057 yards and 10 interceptions and leading the Seminoles to the national title. His numbers dropped last season after losing his top two running backs, two starting receivers and his starting center. Winston threw for 3,907 yards, with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, in 2014.

Winston has since been working with quarterback guru George Whitfield, who has cleaned up the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner's mechanics.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the top pick in the draft and held a private workout in Tallahassee on Thursday that featured Winston and several Florida State offensive linemen. The Bucs were also in Tallahassee last week for Winston's pro day, in which he excelled.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.