Former Colts and Bills GM and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian joined Booger McFarland and Marc Ryan Monday afternoon to discuss the latest moves by Lovie Smith and Jason Licht in free agency.
The discussion progressively swayed to the quarterbacks available in this year’s draft.
“Johnny’s a unique talent, he has all the arm strength you want, he has all the athleticism you want, he’s a fierce competitor, he is a gym rat despite what people may say, you know things he’s done in the off-season, during the season he’s totally devoted to football, and he’s got a unique ability to play the game,” Polian gushed about Johnny Manziel.
Polian explained that his son, Brian, who currently is the head coach at Nevada, was a coach at Texas A&M during Manziel’s Heisman season. Bill Polian said he had a lot of time to see Manziel in person both in-camp and in-season. Polian’s behind-the-scenes look at Manziel is different than most other draft analysts simply guessing about Manziel’s future in the NFL.
“He’s most like in style to Fran Tarkenton, who played in the 60’s, and Doug Flutie, who played in the 80’s. It’s exactly the same style, he’s improvisational, “Polian said of a Manziel comparison in the NFL. “Two things happen because of that. He gives defenses fits and you can get hurt because you’re running around and getting caught by defensive players in the NFL at awkward angles.”
The type of quarterback the Bucs are looking for under new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford is just an assumption by most right now. While many will go back to Cal’s offense while Tedford was there, no one truly knows what Tedford might have in mind as Bucs offensive coordinator. If Tedford is open-minded, Manziel might be the “ideal” fit for the Bucs as Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network stated recently.
“As Tony (Dungy) said, if you have him, you need to adapt your offense to the style of play that he’s best suited to handle,” Polian concluded about Manziel.
Polian was also very high on UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, who played under Polian’s good friend George O’Leary.
“Bortles has all the tools that you want in a quarterback,” Polian said.
“The thing that he (Bortles) lacks is a lot of experience at the quarterback position,” Polian said. “I would like to see him sit for a year and learn, or maybe just half a year and get in to play a little bit to get his feet wet, and not be faced with the pressures of being a savior.”
The Bucs might also be a good fit for Bortles if his style best suits what Jeff Tedford is looking to run because he can sit behind Josh McCown and properly develop.
“I think he has the best long-term future,” Polian said of Bortles.
As for Teddy Bridgewater, Polian said to pay little attention to Bridgewater’s pro day.
“Bridgewater is probably the most ready-to-play right now,” Polian said. “What worries me about him is his girth. I think he’s kind of a slender guy and you worry a little bit about the hits a quarterback takes.”
The Bucs sit with the 7th overall selection in May’s draft. As we get closer and closer to May, we might start to see these quarterbacks slip right into the Bucs lap. While some thought it would be a stretch for the Bucs to have just one of the top quarterbacks fall into their lap, there is a possibility that the Bucs could face the possibility of having to choose between more than one of those top quarterbacks as they sit on the clock.
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Bucs.