With the loss of Mike Glennon in free agency, is quarterback a legitimate option for the Buccaneers in the 2017 NFL Draft?
Crazy, right? Simply two years removed from drafting Jameis Winston – who appears to be the first true franchise quarterback in team history – that quarterback could be a viable option in the upcoming NFL Draft. That’s a decision the Bucs’ brass is faced with in a little more than three weeks. Do they ride with Ryan Griffin who has been on the team the last two seasons or do they draft a guy they feel could truly develop and step up should Winston – heaven forbid – go down for a few weeks?
You know, kinda the New England Patriots method.
It’s not out of the question that a day three pick could be used on a quarterback. Let’s face facts, Jason Licht has done very well in drafts but outside of Kwon Alexander he has a whole bunch of day three misses.
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You expect a day three pick to, if nothing else, make the team as at least a special teams contributor. Under Licht, the Bucs have seen six of their day three picks not make the team – Robert Herron, Kadeem Edwards, Kenny Bell, Kaelin Clay, Joey Iosefa, and Dan Vitale.
Now, Licht has countered that with his ability to find starting caliber players in undrafted free agency, so those misses don’t hurt nearly as bad as they could. All that considered, why not take a shot on a project quarterback on day three to see if he can develop in Winston’s backup?
You look at a guy like Brad Kaaya from Miami (FL) who could very well be available in the fifth, maybe even sixth round and think about some of the flashes he had in college. He has the tools for becoming a decent NFL quarterback but certainly a top notch number two. A player like Josh Dobbs from Tennessee, Chad Kelly from Ole Miss, or Trevor Knight from Texas A&M. These are guys that no one is pegging as a starter – at least not anytime soon.
All of these quarterbacks are projects – developmental guys – that will have to sit and learn for a few years. The Bucs would be taking a calculated risk in drafting one if they are sitting there in the sixth, maybe even as high as the fifth, round if they feel the player can truly develop into something. Why?
Again, look at the Patriots model – where Jason Licht cut his teeth in the NFL.
The Bucs are in a position where outside of a few positions that would be addressed in the first two days, they are beginning to draft strictly for depth. They have their pieces in place to compete and compete now. So why draft a linebacker or corner that may not be good enough to make the team outside of maybe on special teams when you can take a quarterback you feel may develop into a starting caliber player – see Mike Glennon – that could win you a few games if he has to or you can trade him to a quarterback desperate team.
If there’s a chance a player you take late day three isn’t going to make the team, as we’ve seen all too often the past few seasons, taking one of these project quarterbacks is a wise investment. You could be drafting an insurance policy for your team if disaster strikes or you can be grooming trade bait for two-to-three seasons from now.
It’s something the Buccaneers are likely considering and may go for. Don’t be surprised if it happens.