The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a quarterback, and the team’s top brass has reportedly met with a potential first-round prospect at the NFL Combine.
Most of the NFL has converged on Indianapolis this weekend to watch prospects in this upcoming drat class workout and to get a chance to meet with them as the draft process gets underway.
The NFL Combine is the official start of Draft SZN, where teams begin to narrow their focus and draft boards in war rooms across the league begin to come together. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the question is what the team will do with the No. 19 overall pick and how it will inform the team’s approach to this year’s draft.
An obvious need that has been harped on by the national media is quarterback. The Bucs lost Tom Brady this offseason when he retired — maybe — leaving a void under center. Kyle Trask is the only quarterback left in the room, and the only one the Bucs have under contract next season, which presents a whole array of scenarios.
What’s clear in all of the uncertainty this offseason is the Bucs need to figure out what the plan is moving forward. Will Kyle Trask be given a shot to prove he’s the guy or will the team use a high draft pick to try and find a future franchise quarterback?
Those rumors have already been kicked up and they’re only going to pick up speed as the draft nears.
Buccaneers rumors: Anthony Richardson has formally met with Tampa Bay
One quarterback potentially on the Bucs radar is Florida Gators star Anthony Richardson.
According to the man himself, Richardson confirmed that he had met with Bucs brass at the NFL Combine. Both general manager Jason Licht and head coach Todd Bowles formally interviewed Richardson at the Combine, which is notable in so many different ways.
“Yes sir, I have,” Richardson said. “[The interview] went well, just getting to know them and talking about my life and ball.”
It’s not uncommon for teams to meet with players they might not end up drafting. Bill Belichick has been famous for this, meeting with top quarterback prospects he both was in no position to select with the Patriots and while he still had Tom Brady at the peak of his powers.
Due diligence is the name of the game in Indianapolis, as it’s the first time that some front offices are getting at talking to some of the potential prospects they’ll be considering more and more over the next two months of research. Think of it as the starting of the process, and teams try to open as many threads as possible to ensure they nail whoever they select in the first round.
Just because the Bucs met with Richardson doesn’t mean they’re going to make some drastic move to go get him. It doesn’t even mean they’ll draft him if he’s still on the board at No. 19 next month, but the fact the team has met with him at least keeps an iron in the fire.
Richardson has already been connected to the Bucs in various mock drafts since the end of the season, and it’s foolish to not at least consider him an option. The gamble would be that this Florida Gators quarterback is far more advanced in his progression than the one the Bucs already have on roster.
Time will tell how serious this interview was, and whether it was due diligence or something more intentional that tips the Bucs hand.