Feb 21, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles speaks to the media in a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Met With Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel at NFL Draft Scouting Combine


Jason Licht and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ front office are already busy seeking out if the 2014 NFL Draft holds the upgrade at quarterback they’ve publicly said they’re seeking. And while most fans were following along with the on-field drills of the prospects at the Combine, the Bucs were busy planning out interviews with top prospects to see who will make the best fit at the seventh pick, or wherever the Buccaneers wind up.

One of the players the Buccaneers met with this weekend was Blake Bortles, the UCF quarterback who I profiled earlier this offseason. The Orlando Sentinel’s Paul Tenorio reported that the Buccaneers were among eight teams to meet with the Oviedo, FL product.

According to my evaluation of Bortles, he would be an instant upgrade over Mike Glennon, and provides excellent upside once his footwork is ironed out.

One of the other players the Buccaneers met with this weekend was the dynamic Texas A&M product Johnny Manziel. Peter King of MMQB and SI stated in his weekly column that he learned the Buccaneers were among the teams to meet with Johnny in Indianapolis.

Referring back to my draft profile of Manziel, I’m not sold on him as an NFL prospect, and his unsurprising 40-time at the Combine certainly didn’t help. There’s no doubt that Manziel is quick and instinctual as an athlete in the pocket, but I have serious doubts about his all-around game as a quarterback and feel he’s a project rather than a rapid replacement for Mike Glennon.

Don’t be surprised if you hear that the Buccaneers are meeting with almost every top-20 prospect, as they have to be prepared to select any of the players near the top of round one. They cannot enter the draft without doing the best they can to find out about these young men who will be selected using a valuable first-round pick, and asked to be starters in the NFL for a long time.

But it is interesting to hear that the team has now met with multiple quarterback prospects, as they clearly are on the lookout for an upgrade under center in the near future.

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  • skullphucker

    It’s not so much that they’ve met with the players that’s interesting or meaningful. A lot more information can be gleaned from how much the media is focusing on their QB interest, which may in fact be no than at any other position. QB controversies drive web clicks.

  • Tom Weissmann

    Hopefully Bortles can fall to 7 with most position needs met through free agency. It’s literally the only questionable position that can’t be cleared up before the draft.

  • Reinald Vallejo

    Licht must be an idiot then. None of the QBs in this draft are any good. If they want a backup they can take Conner Shaw late or maybe Aaron Murray.

    • Tom Weissmann

      Then so must be every coach, scout and draft analyst because they all graded them as first rounders. Bortles has to work on his footwork and deep bask accuracy. Manziel has to work under center and be patient with his progessions and protection. Bridgewater hasn’t played anyone is true but who did Roethlisberger and Favre play in college? They won three Super Bowls and went to five overall while one owns most of the passing records. Murray is projected that low for a reason. With all the talent he had and couldn’t win. His mental makeup is terrible and that’s hard to improve. Shaw was a game manager and only had to not turn the ball over. He’s the Matt Flynn of the draft where he’ll be a good back up but only be productive in one system. I’ll take Bortles, Bridgewater or Manziel or even McCarron over Shaw or Murray. Saying you’ll take someone without giving reasons for it and then proceeding to call the professionals who scout and run player management idiots is really shallow. I’d love to hear your rebuttal to this and why Murray and Shaw are so good compared to these guys.

  • JOHN SCHMIDT

    While I definitely think the team is doing it’s due diligence on all the QB prospects, I’d be really surprised if they picked one at 7. That said, it only increases your bargaining position if teams that may be wanting one of those QB’s that pick lower than you believe you’re going to take the guy they want. Being that there has been zero talk of the Bucs talking with the top OL/DL prospects, that’s the groups I’d keep an eye on come draft day, especially if they’re able to trade down. A lot will depend on how free agency plays out as well.

  • Rich Schatz

    Wow some of you people are such morons it’s unreal. Any QB in the first or second round would be an upgrade to glennon period! glennon will not be our QB get over it! Reinald you are a douchebag

    • JOHN SCHMIDT

      I love posters that own a crystal ball. Since you KNOW Glennon won’t be our QB, can you please tell us who will? None of us have a clue if Glennon is the answer or not, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Tedford/Arroyo can do with him as well as whoever the team brings in through the draft/FA. I say let them compete and may the best QB win. Until then everything is just speculation, not fact. Btw Carnac the Magnificent, and advice on the stock market?

    • Reinald Vallejo

      What would be stupid would be to draft a QB at that spot when they could upgrade their weapons on offense of gain a great defensive player or offensive lineman. I think Brent Hundley will be a great pick next season, but none of these QBs are franchise QBs. Even Bortals college coach said that about him. Bridgewater never played any competition. Manziel has the best chance, but his style will get him killed. The only guys I like in this draft are Connor Shaw and may Murray real late as a project. Give Glennon another chance this season with better guys to throw to and some more reasonable plays and then see if you need a QB next season.

      • HaitianJack813

        i agree