The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Should Trade Up in the NFL Draft to Secure a Franchise Quarterback

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) introduces quarterback Andrew Luck (Stanford) as the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won four games in 2013 thanks to the improved play of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. The NC State product had a couple of good games against bad pass defenses, and it boosted his profile to fans and the national media.

However, the Buccaneers cannot let a couple of wins fool them into keeping around a quarterback who led the worst offense in the NFL. Geno Smith and the Jets, Chad Henne and the Jaguars, and Matt McGloin, Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders had better offenses than the Bucs.

Were the struggles on offense entirely the fault of Glennon? No, obviously not. The NFL is a team game.

But it’s said by many analysts and experts that a good QB can cover for the holes and weaknesses on an offense. Mike Glennon was unable to do that, and the Buccaneers’ offense was miserable as a result.

And while Glennon may improve over time, there’s no guarantee that he will. Just see Josh Freeman for proof that not every quarterback has steady improvement over their career.

Instead, the Buccaneers should consider every option available to them to trade up in the NFL Draft and secure a franchise quarterback for the future. Even if that means trading all the way up to number one.

According to ESPN, the Houston Texans are considering trading down from the top spot in the draft. The first task for the new general manager of the Buccaneers should be to call the Texans and ask them what price tag they place on the first pick, and make a solid offer to move up and own the most coveted pick in football.

That pick would allow the Buccaneers to select Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville, who I believe is a future franchise quarterback on par with Aaron Rodgers. Bridgewater has almost every tool an NFL quarterback needs, and he’s by far the best option in this draft.

It would cost quite a bit to move up from the seventh pick to the first pick. But it can be done, and it would be worth it to get a franchise quarterback in Tampa Bay for the first time in team history.

The Buccaneers have a lot of talented pieces on both sides of the ball, and the the cap space to add a couple of veterans this offseason to complete the roster for Lovie Smith’s first season in charge. All they need is the right man under center for Smith and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford to groom into a franchise quarterback capable of leading the Buccaneer offense to new heights.

Topics: NFL Draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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  • Mike Johansen

    I’m all about drafting a quarterback but I would also like to see the Bucs go out and sign a veteran QB. Mike Vick will be available, and he’ll eventually get hurt and Bridgewater can come in.

    • Jayson Kaplan

      I wouldn’t sign Vick if he agreed to play for free, particularly if he’s coming in as a backup. He may be getting a lot of praise for being a good boy this year while Foles plays lights out in Philly, but make no mistake about it, Mike Vick still thinks he’s a starter and wherever he goes next, unless there is a firmly established franchise QB in place, he will bring a QB controversy with him for the media whether he means to or not. Also, I don’t think particularly much of him as a human being.

    • RussMillerWY

      I’d like to see them pursue Vick, too. He’s had some ball security issues, but when he’s on fire he’s the best qb who ever lived. Like anyone, though, he can’t survive without pass blocking. They need to draft those before any passing game can succeed. Whether that’s at pick 7 or elsewhere is hard to say. Rookie qbs are problematic considering the team, with guys like V-Jax and Revis heading into old age and other stars only a couple of years from free agency, is primed to win now.

      • Jayson Kaplan

        Revis is 28. That’s hardly old age for a DB.

        • RussMillerWY

          The mileage is showing. Qbs never would have thrown in his direction before the bad knee. Now he’s fallible.

          • LeoTPP

            He was the second-least-targeted CB in the NFL. Rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

  • Jayson Kaplan

    It’s tempting for sure with Bridgewater’s upside, but the risk is also fairly severe. There’s the obvious risk of the fact that as tremendous a prospect as he looks, he’s just that. For every great QB we can each name, we can also name one (probably two or three) in the same draft class that looked just as promising. The variables involved in getting a Jim Kelly or Dan Marino instead of a Todd Blackledge are great.

    RGIII and the Washington/St. Louis deal should also be a reminder that with one freak injury we could give away what, two years at least of first round picks? Not saying Griffin doesn’t rebound next year in a non-Shanahan system, but does Washington do that deal again? I know St. Louis would. I don’t want us to put Houston in that position. What kind of offensive line would be protecting Bridgewater? I imagine we’d be giving up several picks besides a couple of #1s and those picks should be used to strengthen the O-line.

    With a #7 pick we got Barron. We can get another starter for this team in this draft and address the QB situation elsewhere. None of that’s to say it’s not tempting.

  • Gabe

    In one of your previous articles, you said Glennon deserves to start another season. Are you now against this?

    • Jayson Kaplan

      In one of his previous articles about six weeks ago. Any evaluation of Glennon’s performance prior to the Buffalo game is woefully incomplete.

      That game is the perfect example to illustrate the error of the “Glennon played relatively well” narrative much of the media and fanbase seem to be pushing. We’re told that because he won four games he deserves another shot. That was one of his wins. Look at that game and tell me that’s an NFL QB that deserves to start games in 2014. Then watch the San Francisco and St. Louis games.

      The last quarter of the season changed a lot of minds about Glennon.

      • Gabe

        The article im referring to was written barely 2 weeks ago, NOT 6 weeks ago. He was the top rookie passer this year, top 3 in the last 3 years. Had no offensive line, no running game and 1 good receiver to throw to. And might I say some questionable play calling. All in all Glennob did well under the circumstances. Who are we going to do find that’s better? I don’t know if he’s the answer,but I’d like to find out. According to Leo 2 weeks ago, he said Glennon should get another shot……..

        • Jayson Kaplan

          Top rookie passer for 2013 means he outperformed EJ Manuel and Geno Smith. That is all it means. It doesn’t mean he’s qualified to be an NFL starter. If anything, it means all three were overdrafted and forced into starting roles too early.

          Also, “in Top 3 Rookie Passers of Past 3 Years” based on what stats?

          As for the play calling, I was a very vocal critic of Sullivan as a play caller but those last four or five games showed me plenty of times when Sullivan called the right play and guys were open but those guys weren’t Jackson so Glennon never saw them and dumped it to Leonard for a loss or took a sack or threw a terrible pass he was lucky wasn’t picked.

          Point is, Sullivan wasn’t responsible for Glennon getting worse not better under pressure as the year went on. I’m all for improving pass protection, but that won’t improve how he reacts when there is pressure or his unwillingness to stand there and take a hit to make a complete pass.

          Who are we going to find that’s better? According to the stats I’m looking at, just about anyone.

          • Gabe

            Anyone is better than Glennon? Who is anyone? And, exactly what stas are you looking at, passing yards maybe? Please……

          • Gabe

            My stats were from espn. Ever heard of them?

          • Jayson Kaplan

            What specific stat, not from what source. If it’s ESPN, I suspect it’s their QBR ranking which is but one measure, and a questionable one at that.

        • LeoTPP

          Development for a QB is not a straight line moving up. Glennon regressed over the course of his rookie season after taking a couple of steps forward, and shows inconsistencies that are worrisome.

          Being a great rookie QB doesn’t mean a player is on a fast track to being a top NFL QB. Some guys are better equipped to step into life in the NFL at first, and then their weaknesses catch up to them.

          So as I said, I think it would be fair to Glennon to get another shot, as I believe an NFL team can with with him. But the Bucs could also be stuck in QB purgatory with him as a guy who is just good enough to win seven or eight games every year and never win big and never lose enough to draft a franchise guy.

          • Gabe

            Leo, I totally agree with this, and maybe Glennon is just good enough to win 7-8 games. Hard to know with all the injuries and coaching last yr

          • LeoTPP

            I feel it’s pretty easy to judge him even with bad talent and coaching. He’s hesitant, scared, has poor vision and poor ball placement at times. Those are big concerns.

          • Jayson Kaplan

            Exactly. The tape shows plenty of errors that have nothing at all to do with coaching or injuries or anything other than Mike Glennon feeling pressure way earlier than any other QB in the league and overreacting to it by making the wrong decision.

          • Gabe

            The tape also shows we have no running game, and our offensive line continuously getting beat by edge rushers. When given time, I saw a very accurate qb with a very good arm. I’ve seen a lot of qb’s come thru Tampa, and Glennon IMO is one of the better ones.

          • Jayson Kaplan

            Nonsense on the no-running game stuff. Glennon was starting when Martin was still healthy. Glennnon was starting when we all realized how good James really was. Glennon was starting when Rainey went for 200 yards. Glennon made the same mistakes in those games he made in the games when Martin and James were out.

            Being “one of the better ones” among past Bucs’ QBs is not a relevant accomplishment (or in line with reality). Does it matter if Glennon is better in your mind by some arbitrary means of comparison than Brian Griese or Shaun King or Steve Deberg? What matters most to me is that Mike Glennon after 13 starts is no better than Mike Glennon after 0 starts. The lack of progress is worrisome to me for a QB of a team I expect to turn around quickly, not be a 3-4 process.

            If we were rebuilding the whole team from the ground up, I’d let Glennon compete for the job. We’re not. WIth the right moves this spring, this team should be able to compete immediately with the talent already in place.

          • Gabe

            Dude, really? Our rush game ranked bottom third of the league. So is it nonsense to say we had no running game? ABSOLUTELY not! Rainey had 2 decent games and Martin had maybe 1.

            Glennon gained valuable experience, abd when he’s not playing with an undrafted wideout, TE and RB, I believe we will see an even more improved QB. I also saw very conservative, dare I say terrible play calling. I agree to TOTALLY disagree with you.

    • LeoTPP

      I have previously said that Glennon deserves a shot with a better coaching staff. I’ve also said he probably doesn’t get that shot.

      It’s a tough situation. Right now I think Glennon is a bottom-10 QB in the NFL. I think he could rise to the 15-ish range with the right coaching.

      The problem with that is that I see Teddy Bridgewater as a future top-5 QB. The difference between Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco, basically.

      I think the Buccaneers can win with Mike Glennon. I think Teddy Bridgewater helps the Buccaneers win. Does that make sense?

      • Reinald Vallejo

        No way Glennon is bottom-10. He’s mid-tier at this point after only a rookie season. He had better numbers than Ryan Tannehill. And the Bucs offense was not very rookie friendly and is too old-hat anyway. It was a tough offense to grasp and they need a modern offense where Vincent Jackson is not his only option. Give the guy a couple seasons under a real offensive coordinator, and then get back at me.

        • LeoTPP

          Better numbers when you use certain stats. Yards per attempt he was dead last. That’s a key stat. Just because he avoided picks doesn’t mean he was efficient or effective.

          And I’d rather not give him a couple years “just to see.” This team is too good to have the wrong QB.

  • Gabe

    We are already limited on pics this year in the draft, and trading up would limit us on gettin O-line and D-line help, which we really need….. O-line was terrible this year and we struggled to rush the qb off the edge. Would love to have a franchise qb, but don’t see one in this draft.

  • lester727

    -to get a franchise quarterback in Tampa Bay for the first time in team history.-

    Steve Young wasn’t a franchise QB?

    • Gabe

      Huh?

      • lester727

        Huh what? I ask again, was Steve Young not a franchise QB (drafted by Bucs in USFL supplemental draft and played for us for 2 seasons before we traded him to San Fran after we drafted Vinnie the Pooh(

        • Gabe

          Ok I’m following you. You could throw Doug williams in there too.

          • lester727

            Exactly, just because the Bucs sucked really really bad back in the day doesn’t mean we did not have talented QBs. Neither one of those two guys had a chance in hell in succeeding here. I personally like Glennon but certainly can’t guarantee he is the answer. I would rather us take a chance on Glennon and bring in Sammy Watkins – killer receiving core we would have. Oh, just scored!

          • Gabe

            Agreed!

          • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

            Being a franchise QB would require the player to actually play well and for more than a couple of miserable seasons. I see the argument for Doug Williams but not Steve Young.

            I think the wiser choice would be to NOT give up multiple picks (we’re already missing a 3rd) to take a chance on a number 1 pick. A good O line can make Glennon even better and our RB’s better too. Stock up Bucs!

          • lester727

            Scot, do you know who Steve Young actually is? You don’t think Steve Young was a franchise QB? Really? He is in the GD Hall of Fame.

          • Jayson Kaplan

            Every time somebody suggests this I ask this question. Hopefully, you’ll be the first to answer.

            Why do you think we need to waste a #7 pick on a WR?

            We have one of the top WRs in the league in Jackson as our #1, and because he was injured much of this season people seem to forget that Mike Williams exists as #2.

            You want to spend a #7 pick on a #3 WR? I don’t care how good Watkins may be in the NFL someday, we have two guys that are pretty damn good in the NFL right now.

            This pick needs to strengthen the O-line or the pass rush. Those are the two biggest need positions at which we need top 10 overall talent.

    • Tony Brown

      Steve Young wasn’t a franchise QB because he only played like a year for us; he was a franchise QB for the 49ers.
      As for Doug Williams, also not a franchise QB.
      Josh Freeman was the closest thing we had to a franchise QB.

    • LeoTPP

      He was never the Buccaneers’ franchise quarterback.

  • RussMillerWY

    I’m still skeptical that the first three games of the season, plus an ill-conceived decision to start him in Minnesota after almost no preparation, mark Josh Freeman for ignominy. If anything, signing him as a free agent now will be a lot cheaper than it would have been had he finished out the year playing for Captain Queeg. His depature was one of the silliest bungles I’ve ever seen a team make, and had to play a huge role in Dominick’s dismissal. He’s the franchise qb in September and can’t be traded for a seventh round pick in 2069 by October??? That’s what put the whole regime in the twilight zone of incredulity and they never recovered.

  • Tony Brown

    I disagree. While I do think we should move up to the #2 slot (as the Rams are rumored to be trying to trade down), it’s for Jadaveon Clowney, not a quarterback. Now that Marcus Mariota passed on the Draft, the QB class is no longer very impressive imo. Teddy Bridgewater is overrated, and Johnny Manziel, the next highest ranked QB, will most likely be there at #7 anyway.
    None of the remaining QBs are worth passing up on a once in a generation pass rusher like JC, especially for a team whose biggest need is a pass rusher.

    • LeoTPP

      I don’t see a scenario in which trading away the future for a defensive end is worth it. I know DEs can have huge impacts, but not for the price it would cost to move to that pick when competing against other teams trying to trade for quarterbacks. Clowney isn’t worth multiple firsts, Bridgewater is.

      • Tony Brown

        Jadaveon IS the future.
        And I don’t think it’ll be multiple firsts to move up 5 spots. A 2nd at the most.

        Besides, there is lots of talent on this team. We can afford to trade up.
        Remember, your criticism of potentially trading up for Clowney was the same one the Falcons faced when they acquired Julio Jones. I’d say that’s worked out well for them.

  • Trey Alderson-Cloutier

    Glennon will excel next year in Tedfords offense. I guarantee you that. We will have a re-tweaked offensive line, a speed slot receiver(Sammy please!!) and a TE that can block and catch. Tedford has a way of taking qbs with limitations and making them into stars with his thick playbook and playcalling. We don’t need a qb, we need an offensive line, a speedy slot receiver, a TE, pass rusher, and a corner to replace LJ.

    • LeoTPP

      Sammy Watkins would be a colossal waste of a first round pick. And I think it’s a big leap to say Glennon will be guaranteed to succeed anywhere.

      And we don’t need offensive line. We need guards. If Carl Nicks gets healthy, we need a guard.

      The corner to replace LJ will be a cheap veteran or a late pick. The speedy slot receiver can be a veteran or a late pick (Sammy is too high of a pick for a team with two solid WRs already). And if the Bucs lock up a franchise QB in the draft that means they can spend on a veteran pass rusher like Greg Hardy or Justin Tuck.

    • Reinald Vallejo

      I agree. I see nothing in Glennon at this point that justifies the Bucs not giving him 2 seasons to prove himself. Add another WR and a good TE and get better at run blocking and then see what he can do.

  • Reinald Vallejo

    I disagree. Mike Glennon was the best rookie QB last season. The problem is not with his passing, the problem is the run game and the fact they have only 1 weapon in the passing game in Vincent Jackson. Mike Williams is a trash #2 WR. They need to draft an talented TE and get a legitimate #2 WR.
    They can’t pass up Anthony Barr if he is available. He’s better at his poistion than Clowney, imo.

    • Jayson Kaplan

      Why do so many people put so much importance on “best rookie passer?” It only proves all three rookie QBs shouldn’t have been starting if the best of the bunch is Glennon.

      • Gabe

        Does it mean nothing to be the best rookie passer? 19td and 9ints. I guess that’s pretty awful?

        • Jayson Kaplan

          Since I’m not suggesting we replace him with EJ Manuel or Geno Smith, no, it means nothing.

          • Gabe

            You previously said anyone is better than Glennon, so by saying this, you are saying Manuel and Smith are better.

          • Jayson Kaplan

            No, you seem to have difficulty reading for context so let’s try again.

            You said Glennon is best rookie passer.

            I said that means very little, and only means he’s better than Smith and Manuel.

            When you asked again, I said since I’m not saying we replace Glennon with either of those two QBs who he outperformed, than it’s nothing but a historical note that he was 2013′s best rookie passer.

            Make sense yet?

    • bigboi

      Wright did an excellent job at Tight End… he broke the rookie TE record… Glennon dont suck, but he aint ever gonna be a franchise QB neither, you atleast got to bring in a QB to give him some competition… i dont want Glennon to be our QB

  • Gabe

    I think an edge pass rusher would have the biggest impact for next yr

  • victorbarney

    Nothing against the current starting Quarterback, but wouldn’t a FRANCHISE Quarterback be the “icing on the cake?” Wow!

  • Gee Wiz

    so what you guys are saying is we should give up on Glennon after a disappointing rookie season. Imagine if the Colts gave up on Manning after his 3-13 rookie season. The same goes for the likes of Joe Namath, Troy Aikman, John Elway and Terry Bradshaw. They all had under-achieving rookie seasons but still managed to be franchise qbs. Let Glennon get a chance under a real HC and his staff.

    • LeoTPP

      It has nothing to do with record. It has to do with watching Glennon and seeing he’s not the guy.

    • Jayson Kaplan

      With the right moves this spring combined with the current talent on both sides of the ball, there’s a window open for this team to be a legitimate contender. Between age, attrition and expiring contracts, that window is not going to be open long enough to spend a few more seasons waiting for Glennon to develop.

      He was an overdrafted project QB at best and instead, because he was so strongly admired by one single coach (now gone) he’s been forced into being the starting QB, a role his performance shows he was not ready for

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  • Carson Thrash

    Trade up to number one, and basically become Atlanta?

    No thanks. Glennon had a better rookie season the Andrew Luck.