Latest NFL Mock Draft has Bucs making huge trade for a QB of the future

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 29: Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans wave flags during round two of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 29: Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans wave flags during round two of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) /

While most of the world is in Super Bowl Mode, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fully embracing NFL Mock Draft SZN at home. It’s a painful reminder of how hard the team has fallen and what it’ll take to climb back to the top.

Quarterback is the key to success, as we can see with the two set to play in Super Bowl 57 and what Bucs fans witnessed with Brady. Even a bad season can be made into something if a team has a good quarterback, as the 9-8 Buccaneers likely win fewer than half those games if anyone else is under center.

For the Bucs, all eyes are on the incoming quarterback class this offseason. There’s the veteran class, with guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr available at the right price via trade or free agency, and the rookie class set to walk across the stage in late April.

It’s truly a crossroads for the Bucs, as the team has a coaching staff unlikely to accept defeat and rebuild in 2023 while also having a serious need for a young quarterback to anchor the franchise years beyond what a veteran might be able to provide.

Tampa Bay owns the No. 19 pick in the NFL Draft this year, which means if they want to snag one of the top quarterback prospects in this class they’ll need to trade up to get him — but how high is too high and what’s not high enough?

NFL Mock Draft: Buccaneers trade up to No. 3 to draft a franchise QB

In the latest NFL Mock Draft over at CBS Sports, Tampa Bay moves all the way up into the Top 5 to draft a quarterback of the future. It’s a bold move, but it’s also one that the team would get raked for if they actually made.

This seems like a great deal in theory, because it would mean the Bucs jumped Indianapolis to be in a position to take whoever the Houston Texans pass on at No. 2. Of course, that’s assuming the Chicago Bears remain at No. 1 or trade the pick, which they don’t in this latest mock.

Where this fantasy falls apart is what happens with the Colts. CBS has them trading with Chicago to land the top pick in the draft and select C.J. Stroud, with Bryce Young going No. 2 overall.

That leaves the Buccaneers selecting Kentucky’s Will Levis.

All of that Draft capital for a guy that most mocks have as a mid-first round pick at best. To be fair, this is less about Levis and his potential and more about how rough it would be for the Bucs to make this trade and still end up more or less in the same place.

In no world should the Bucs sacrifice next year’s top pick, let alone this year’s, to draft anyone not named Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.

Now, if this scenario plays out and the Bucs are still ahead of the Colts then it’s a different story. But Tampa Bay is in a tough spot gambling that the Stroud or Young won’t come off the board when the Bears control things with the No. 1 pick.

It’s no secret that the Colts and Texans are in a dead heat to see which team can draft the better of Stroud or Young, and that both quarterbacks will likely join Trevor Lawerence in a suddenly loaded AFC South. Unless the Bucs make the bold move to trade with Chicago, it’s difficult to envision a world where they come away with one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft.

Tampa Bay is much better off either signing a veteran in free agency or handing the keys to Kyle Trask next season and crossing its franchise quarterback bridge in 2024.