- Will Levis, QB/Kentucky
- Anthony Richardson, QB/Florida
- Hendon Hooker, QB/Tennessee
Let’s not do this — at least not here.
To be clear, this isn’t a plea for the Buccaneers to pass on taking a quarterback at all in the draft this year but it can’t happen in the first round.
Doing so would mean a number of things, none of which are particularly attractive. The Bucs could trade up to land a quarterback, as they’ve been predicted by some to do, but that would mean mortgaging the future to land what could end up being the third or fourth best quarterback in the class.
Taking a guy at No. 19 would likely mean passing on guys like Darnell Wright or Broderick Jones, both of whom fill bigger positional needs and could be better prospects. Ditto for guys like Brian Branch, Deonte Banks, and even Bijan Robinson.
The Bucs could draft a quarterback — and have it make sense — but they don’t need to do it in the first round. Right now the hype on Hendon Hooker is that he’ll be a first round quarterback but that’s probably going to normalize by Thursday and he’ll be available on Day 2. Beyond him the Bucs have options in Aiden O’Conner from Purdue and Clayton Tune from Houston.
Neither of those guys are coming in as starters in training camp, but they could be guys that challenge Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask for the gig. More importantly, the Bucs can try to take a swing on a young quarterback without needing to overpay and without taking themselves out of the running for possibly drafting a franchise quarterback in next year’s class.