If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want a top quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft, they might not have to move out of the No. 19 pick.
Crazy things tend to happen this time of year when it comes to the NFL Draft. Teams may have an idea of their draft board locked in, but one out-of-left-field pick and plans immediately change.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’re sitting in prime chaos territory. With the No. 19 pick, it doesn’t outwardly seem like there will be much left from the top of the draft board but that really depends on which board you’re looking at.
Each team has a different read on this year’s draft class, and that includes what executives are thinking about the incoming quarterbacks. There’s absolutely zero consensus, as C.J. Stroud is being mocked as falling out of the Top 10 in some predictions and Hendon Hooker was projected to go No. 5 in another.
Basically, it’s already peak chaos season and smoke screens are going up all over the place.
That could play into the Bucs favor, as teams jockeying for quarterbacks could help other top positional players fall down the board. Specifically, if there’s a run on signal callers the Bucs could be able to grab a top tackle without having to move around the draft order.
They could also land a top quarterback, as we’re seeing in a new NFL Mock Draft from MMBQ.
NFL Mock Draft: Buccaneers land a top quarterback at No. 19
In his latest NFL Mock Draft, Verderame has one of the projected top quarterbacks falling all the way to No. 19 and right into Tampa Bay’s lap.
Will Levis, who was once looked upon as the third-best quarterback in the class, has seen his stock take a bit of a hit in recent weeks. The rise of Anthony Richardson has seemingly bumped him from some conversations, and Hendon Hooker is racing around the turn to take a lead down the stretch as well.
If this happens, the Bucs could go on the clock at No. 19 and have Levis still available.
"If Levis falls here—and that’s a possibility—the Buccaneers would have a tough time passing on him. The Buccaneers are in quarterback purgatory with Baker Mayfield on a one-year deal, and Levis would provide a high-risk, high-reward choice in the mid-first round."
Levis has been mocked to the Bucs before, but all other scenarios involved a trade up. Moving up for a guy who isn’t even the consensus third-best quarterback is a monster mistake but having him on the board at No. 19 is far more intriguing.
The question is what else is available at the time? In Verderame’s mock, the Bucs all three top left tackles are off the board as is Brian Branch, Michael Mayer, and Dalton Kincaid.
That seems like a potential nightmare scenario, but it offers the Bucs two different paths to walk.
Drafting Levis isn’t exciting, but getting a potential top guy that late in the first, and on a rookie contract, gives the team some wiggle room. Letting him compete with Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask could result in Levis starting in 2023, and from there the chips fall where they may.
Another route could be a trade down. Do the Raiders, who went with a cornerback in this mock, want to trade back into the first round to get him? Would the Seahawks move up a pick and surrender a Day 2 pick to get him?
Trading down would be the most ideal situation as the Bucs could still land someone like Brian Branch or Bryan Bresee and use the other pick it gets on Hendon Hooker in either the second or third round.
Levis doesn’t offer much excitement, but the value at No. 19 could be worth it if the Bucs don’t parlay his availability on the board into adding more picks.