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.