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The Florida State star, who is expected to sign a multimillion-dollar contract with Tampa Bay, was back home in Alabama -- leaving an empty stage at the draft venue in Chicago.
After he was selected, Winston tweeted that he was "so proud to be" a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, adding that it was a "dream come true."
With Winston off the board, the Tennessee Titans made Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota the No. 2 pick.
Before the draft, Winston had told ESPN, "Anyone that wants to take that chance on me ... they're going to be lucky."
The NFL Players Association told ABC News today that Winston could make roughly $24 million for his first four years. On April 17, Nike announced that it had signed Winston.
"The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl," said ESPN football analyst Todd McShay. "And he looks like he's capable of winning a Super Bowl."
But Winston had said he'd be at home in Alabama during the draft, surrounded by his family. He posted on Instagram today, thanking his supporters.
“”La familia be4 it all started I just want to thank everyone who help raise me and get the opportunity to become a professional athlete
Still, though, the 21-year-old All-American athlete, known for his arm strength and agility on the gridiron, continues to be hounded by critics and skeptics because of some headline-grabbing controversies off the field.
At Florida State in 2012, Winston was accused of rape. He maintained that the sex was consensual. No charges were filed in the case, with Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs citing insufficient evidence. Winston was also cleared in a university code of conduct hearing. A day before Nike made the announcement, his accuser filed a civil suit against both him and the university. She also spoke out in a documentary titled "The Hunting Ground."
Winston was also sidelined for making lewd comments and received a civil citation in 2014 for allegedly stealing $32 worth of seafood from a Florida grocery store. He said that was a mistake.
"All my mistakes make me a better person," he told ESPN.
Today, his agent, Greg Genske, told ABC News in a statement that with the NFL draft today, Winston "enthusiastically begins a new chapter of his life and is grateful for the support of his family and friends, coaches, teammates, teachers and legions of fans."