Buccaneers: A quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft starting to make sense

Kellen Mond, Texas A&M Aggies, draft option for the Buccaneers in the 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M Aggies, draft option for the Buccaneers in the 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Could the Buccaneers target a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft now?

It didn’t seem likely at first, but the stars are starting to align for the Buccaneers to target a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. This may seem like it counters the general thought from the past few months, and it does, but it is starting to grow difficult to rule it out any longer.

Prior to this week, it already made sense for the Bucs to add someone, albeit in one of the late rounds. A sixth or seventh-round pick would be far cheaper than Ryan Griffin, whose time has likely come to an end in Tampa. The Bucs can’t afford to pay the third guy over a million dollars per year any longer.

While most of us expected this as a likely possibility, the idea that the Bucs could target a quarterback high seemed laughable. Bruce Arians is not drafting for the future. He wants to win now. The only argument against this is; if the Bucs don’t take a quarterback, who else would they draft?

The Buccaneers have no pressing needs

A team returning all 22 of its starters after winning the Super Bowl is unheard of. The only position that stood to earn any playing time was a rookie pass-catching running back, but the Bucs already locked that spot up with Giovani Bernard. With a running back effectively off the board early, the Bucs likely won’t draft a single starter this year.

Bruce Arians and Jason Licht are now in a position where every pick they spend this year, even the first-rounder, will sit on the bench for most of this season. At that point, you’re taking guys to develop for the future, so it is entirely possible that Jason Licht sits B.A. down and makes a case for a quarterback.

The Bucs can still find depth at pass-rusher and edge, and they may be able to steal a speedy receiver in one of the mid-rounds to help with special teams. Tampa has a mountain of flexibility, but it still comes back to the idea that if you’re going to draft players for the future, a shot in the dark on a quarterback doesn’t hurt.

After the initial run on quarterbacks in the top-10, where five players at the position could easily come off the board, there is set to be a second run on day two. Players like Kyle Trask, Jamie Newman, Davis Mills, and Kellen Mond are popular names as developmental options for the future.

Looking at that next group, Mond looks like the best-suited to be a future franchise quarterback. With the physical traits locked down, most teams should value him over the likes of a Mills or Trask. Newman, Mills, and Trask also have the tools to succeed at the next level, but they currently project more as backups rather than starters for the most part.

With Blaine Gabbert on the roster as the favorite to back up Brady, the Bucs would likely pass on guys like Trask. The athleticism isn’t there, but the history of winning is. Unfortunately, with athleticism becoming far more important in the modern NFL, taking a chance on a guy like Trask this year helps little.

With two years to sit behind Brady, a rookie like Newman or Mond can grow far more than Trask. The better arms and the ability to improvise give the two the higher ceiling down the road, and taking a chance on them while not needing them to step into the second role makes perfect sense.

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The Buccaneers are likely still evaluating their draft board and trying to determine their needs, but it seems difficult to believe that no one in the building is starting to plant the belief that this could be a need in the right round.

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