The Tampa Bay Buccaneers May Not Have Many Options at Quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft
By Leo Howell
Dec 5, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts to a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not have as many options at quarterback in the 2014 Draft as it once seemed.
The funny thing about year-round draft prognostication is that the players projected and analyzed throughout the year are often underclassmen who aren’t guaranteed to enter the NFL Draft. And while it’s usually obvious which underclassmen are cut out for a jump to the next level, they all hold the right to go back and compete at the college level for another year until they’re out of eligibility.
Marcus Mariota, seen by many as the second-best quarterback in the class, has already announced his intentions to stay in school. Today, news broke of two other top prospects at the position who might not enter the draft, either.
According to former scout John Middlekauf, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater is not 100% convinced that he should enter the upcoming draft.
So why on Earth would a top-rated quarterback prospect, compared to Aaron Rodgers by many, decide to forego the draft with so many QB-needy teams at the top of the board?
Apparently, there are some scouts in NFL front offices who don’t see Bridgewater as the same can’t-miss prospect many media scouts do.
If Bridgewater were to stay in school, Derek Carr would become the top-ranked quarterback on most boards, and since Carr is a senior, he’s locked in as a candidate for an early pick in the draft.
But who would follow the Fresno State product? Many believe that Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel is a candidate for a very high draft pick, but he’s not a lock to enter the draft, either.
According to Manziel himself, speaking to Dan Patrick on his radio show, the former Heisman Trophy winner would consider a return to College Station if he’s not given a first-round grade by the NFL’s Advisory Committee.
This would thin out the quarterback crop in a serious way, and leave the Buccaneers with very few options at the top of the draft if they choose to pursue a quarterback. Things can (and will) change between now and the draft, but a quarterback class that had many drooling just months ago is now a bit less impressive than many expected.