Buccaneers: Quarterback not a priority in 2021 NFL Draft
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers don’t need a quarterback yet.
The Buccaneers have very few legitimate needs going into the 2021 NFL Draft. This is a shocking position to be in after winning the Super Bowl, but one of the greatest free agency periods during the salary cap era ensures that Tampa Bay can go after luxury options in the draft over needs.
Positions like running back, wide receiver, and depth on the defense become available. These players aren’t needed to start now, which is why they are a fortunate opportunity after a period where players on other teams would probably leave.
The one position that the Buccaneers will likely not pursue, at least early, is quarterback.
Don’t count on the Buccaneers to draft a quarterback high
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Does this mean that the Bucs shouldn’t draft a quarterback at some point? Absolutely not. Ryan Griffin likely has no reason to remain on the roster any longer from a logistical standpoint. But Tampa Bay will need to handle this carefully.
Tom Brady is still under contract for two more full seasons. This means that any rookie drafted will have to sit for two seasons without getting to play much at all if Blaine Gabbert’s 2020 stats were any indication. If the Bucs draft high, there is a decent chance that they won’t see this rookie touch the field until 2023, and then the time for evaluation is shortened dramatically.
Just look at what is happening for the Packers. Jordan Love has not thrown a ball yet and is inching closer to a full two or three seasons without seeing the field. If he was drafted to replace Rodgers down the road, the Packers run the risk of that window closing before it opens. You can’t extend a rookie that never plays.
While the Buccaneers should have an end in sight with Brady, it’s hard to put a definite endpoint on his career. Should he be done at 45? Yes, but the same could’ve been said years ago, about 40. Just looking at current rates, though, any rookie quarterback that the Bucs select won’t see the field until year three, which is a tough sell to a priority option.
Tampa Bay could address the third spot with a long shot on day three or in the UDFA market, but fans shouldn’t hold their breath that the Bucs will spend a pick on day one or two on the successor to Brady with his current contract in mind.
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