Before the season started, the Bucs were among the teams experts thought might be in a position to draft Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. After the way this season has gone, the calls for Tampa Bay to draft a franchise quarterback are growing louder.
As was the case last season, the Bucs might be picking too low to have a chance at drafting one of the top quarterbacks and would be reaching for a mid-tier guy at No. 8 overall. This is no doubt a talented quarterback class, but part of what’s great about that is it’s a deep draft where the Bucs could walk away with a guy like Jayden Daniels or Michael Penix Jr on Day 2.
Rather than reach for a quarterback, the Bucs would be wise to look at the rest of the draft board and land a top prospect at another position. As bad as the offense has looked, the pass rush is among the worst in the league. Tampa Bay’s defense has the chance to be great but the situation up front needs to be addressed, and Laiatu Latu fits the bill. He’s been perhaps the best pass rusher in the entire country over the last two seasons, and could give the Bucs the edge rusher the team has been desperately looking for.
The team used a first round pick on Calijah Kancey this year and he’s looked great, but adding Latu into the mix would give Tampa Bay deeper talent at a position where depth is important. Look at some of the defenses that have won Super Bowls over the last handful of years and you’ll find deep trenches; Philly has been feasting on this strategy and teams like Kansas City, Baltimore, and now Detroit have copied it.
Tampa Bay passing on sexier picks like Keon Coleman or a quarterback might not go over well in the moment, but those feelings will change once Latu starts wrecking opposing offenses alongside guys like Kancey and Vita Vea.