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Ask any sports fan what the most important position is in all of sports, and any logical person would say quarterback. You either have the guy or you’re looking for the guy. Well, the Bucs don’t have the guy.
Here are my top 5 needs for the Bucs heading into the draft:
Looking at the roster, I’m sure there will be people that read this and roll their eyes, but quarterback is the most important position in sports, and if you feel the Bucs are set at that position, you’re fooling yourselves.
The Bucs signed Josh McCown to a 2-year contract this off-season, however, if you look closely at that contract, just the 1st year is guaranteed. One might also assume that McCown’s contract is structured in a way for him to be the starter at the beginning of the 2014 season, but eventually become the backup quarterback in Tampa Bay.
As for Mike Glennon, the Bucs are reportedly already actively shopping Glennon with a week until the draft even begins. This news tells me that the Buccaneers might be targeting a quarterback extremely early in the draft if they’re already looking to dump Glennon to another team. Lovie Smith said he wanted every position on his team to be fast and athletic. Mike Glennon is neither fast nor athletic.
Jeff Tedford will likely want a quarterback who is athletic, mobile, accurate, and has a quick release. I feel that if there is a quarterback that the Bucs have targeted as “their guy” in this draft, they should waste little time and take that player in the 1st round.
“As a general rule, the 7th pick, you want them to play fairly soon,” Lovie Smith said at his pre-draft press conference. “There’s no rebuilding around here. We’re trying to put together a roster to be able to win as quickly as we possibly can. The 7th pick normally plays fairly soon.”
Some people have taken this quote from Lovie Smith to the absolute extreme and used this as reasoning to why the Bucs will not draft a quarterback. Well, despite the obvious “smokescreen” rule, let’s dissect this quote.
Lovie 1st says, “as a general rule,” if it is a general rule, that does not mean it’s the golden rule that can not be broken.
Because Lovie said that “we’re trying to put together a roster to be able to win as quickly as we possibly can,” some interpret that as the Bucs not willing to take a quarterback because that player won’t help them win now. Well, Josh McCown is 35 years old on a 2-year deal and the Bucs are shopping Mike Glennon. Lovie Smith might want to win this year, but if they don’t draft a future quarterback soon, they’ll be losing a lot of games in the near future.
Lovie finally says, “the 7th pick normally plays fairly soon.” Sorry, in this time of smokescreens, for him to use the word “normally” opens him up to any type of circumstance.
Everyone has their own opinions, but while most that don’t want a QB believe Josh McCown can get the Bucs through this season, I’m thinking about today and tomorrow. With the depth at WR in this draft, I say target the quarterback that you feel can be your guy in the 1st round and pick from an extremely talented pool of receivers at the top of round 2.
Here are the QBs the Bucs could target in this draft:
Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M – If he’s there, you take him. Manziel is mobile, accurate, has a quick release, and is a leader. Durability might be a concern, but if you’re worried about injuries that haven’t even occurred yet, you might just miss out on a great player. PROJECTED: Top 10
“Manziel has done more to help himself during his private mtgs, workout w teams than any QB in this draft FAR!!! He’s flown up,” Fox Sports Jay Glazer tweeted Thursday. “One team in top 10 a month ago didn’t have him in their top 4 QBs. After spending time w him he’s now number one on their board at position.”
Derek Carr – Fresno State – If Manziel is gone, I believe the Bucs should set their sights on Derek Carr. Carr has a live arm, quick release, and tremendous character. Carr is also sneaky mobile and can get out of the pocket. PROJECTED: 1st Round
Blake Bortles – UCF – I’m very iffy on Bortles. First, I’m not sure he fits into Jeff Tedford’s offense. Bortles is very athletic and mobile, but I’m a little concerned about consistent accuracy and his release. I’m also concerned because I saw Bortles with my own two eyes in person on the sideline struggle mightily against a poor USF defense that had three true freshmen starting in their secondary. PROJECTED: 1st Round
Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville – Bridgewater might be destined for the 2nd round, but if he slips to the Bucs and they pass on a QB in round 1, it could be a great fit. Bridgewater is accurate, smart, and has a quick release. I think the biggest concern NFL teams have is that he played a majority of last season at 185 lbs, and that just won’t cut it in the NFL. While some are concerned about Manziel’s durability, at least he weighs over 200 lbs. PROJECTED: 2nd Round
Tom Savage – Pitt – I’ll pass. Yes, he’s got a big arm, but I saw Tom Savage get beat out by a true freshman at Rutgers, transfer twice, and then have an average season at Pitt. I just don’t get the hype. PROJECTED: 2nd Round
Jimmy Garoppolo – Easter Illinois – Garoppolo is not a bad fit for the Bucs at all. Garoppolo is extremely raw, so it might take a couple years for him to be ready to play, but with Josh McCown’s 2-year contract, perhaps the Bucs have enough time to wait for the athletic quick release of Garoppolo to develop. PROJECTED: 2nd Round
Zach Mettenberger – LSU – I’m a fan of Mettenberger as a quarterback, but I don’t think he fits the Bucs offense with his lack of athleticism and mobility. PROJECTED: 2nd Round
Aaron Murray – Georgia – If the Bucs miss on Manziel and Carr early, I think Murray would be a slam dunk. Murray was outstanding in the SEC and has tremendous character and leadership that he will bring back to the community. The story of a local player coming home to play for his favorite team is a great story to follow as well. PROJECTED: 3rd Round
AJ McCarron – Alabama – I think McCarron is good, but his ceiling might be limited. He will do what a team asks him, but I have my doubts if he can consistently make the plays that matter most in the NFL. PROJECTED: 3rd/4th Round
Tajh Boyd – Clemson – Boyd put up mega numbers the past 3 years at Clemson. Boyd is mobile and physical. He has a quick release and knows how to use big time receivers. I think he could be a great fit in Tedford’s offense. PROJECTED: 4th/5th Round
David Fales – San Jose State – Fales is a project quarterback with good accuracy and athleticism. He lacks elite arm strength and doesn’t really have the “wow” factor. PROJECTED: 5th/6th Round
Connor Shaw – South Carolina – Look out for Connor Shaw. Shaw is very athletic, very accurate, and has a nice quick consistent motion. Shaw does not have great arm strength and primarily throws to his first read often. Injuries are a concern with Shaw as well as he takes more crushing hits than any quarterback in this draft. PROJECTED: 6th/7th Round
The Commish’s Best Fit for the Bucs: Derek Carr (1st Round)
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Bucs