For months, we’ve speculated.
We’ve talked an awful lot about “smokescreen this” and “smokescreen that”.
In the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2014 NFL Draft, where there is smoke, there is fire.
With the No. 7 pick in the draft, the Bucs could be in prime position to take any quarterback they want. Teams in front of them are clearing the path by avoiding quarterbacks like the plague, clearing some of the smoke that has hovered over the draft for months.
Two early favorites to draft a quarterback, the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, seem to be out of the mix (for Manziel, at least) according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer.
The Houston Texans, who hold the first overall pick, have been loosely linked to Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel, but more often linked to Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack.
The St. Louis Rams and head coach Jeff Fisher expressed confidence in current quarterback Sam Bradford, and said that drafting a quarterback early isn’t necessarily his focus.
There are no national reports linking the Jaguars to anyone at this time, but I have them drafting an offensive tackle.
The Atlanta Falcons, picking 6th, could hold the key to the Bucs’ fate. If a team wants to trade up to get the quarterback they want before Tampa Bay, Atlanta would be the team to trade with. The Falcons might have some extra motivation in trading their pick if it means raining on the parade of a division rival.
And all of this circles around one team, one position, and really, one player.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While it almost seems too convenient that these teams have all dismissed quarterback as an option, the Buccaneers have expressed deep interest in Manziel. The teams in front of Tampa are focusing elsewhere as if Lovie Smith has pulled a Moses and parted the Red Sea to get who he wants.
We are just two days away from knowing if this is true for sure, but if you needed another sign, just look at the reports of Mike Glennon hitting the trade block. The Buccaneers are expecting to add another quarterback really soon, and want to unload one of their current ones to make room.
And if you listen to guys like NFL Insiders Jay Glazer, Adam Schefter, and Ian Rapoport, everything they have reported in recent history has prepared me for Bucs to draft a quarterback in the first round.
Specifically, I’m expecting Johnny Manziel in red and pewter, but it all depends on if the Texans really aren’t interested, and if the Falcons can’t actively shop their pick to a team that loves him.
Otherwise, I can definitely see the Bucs trading down and targeting guys like Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr.
I just think with all these talks of smokescreens, but this many reports dropping hints of what’s to come, that there has to be some truth to what is being said at this time.
I think the Buccaneers want a quarterback. Reports suggest Manziel.
Reports also suggest that the teams in front of Tampa will pass on quarterback, giving the Bucs their pick of the litter.
Lovie Smith, eat your heart out. Your future quarterback awaits. Manziel or not.