While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to pull themselves out of a pit on Sunday, logging the team's first win since before the bye week back in October, it still doesn't sound like folks are sold.
Specifically, Baker Mayfield has been a source of much debate this season with both fans and pundits openly pondering at ever turn whether or not he's the quarterback of the future. He was signed without much fanfare -- unless you count the endless trolling as such -- but he's put together a more decent season than some might be willing to admit.
It's not exactly the hardest thing in the world, but Mayfield currently ranks as the best statistical QB in the NFC South.
Right now Baker has the best QBR and the healthiest TD-INT ratio among the other quarterbacks in the division. He's also playing like one of the most efficient QBs in the entire league, as PFF has routinely rated him in the Top 5.
Losing four games in a row will taint all of that, which is exactly what has happened. To be clear, the jury is still out on Baker, but he hasn't yet played himself out of consideration to be the Bucs quarterback of the future.
Of course, that hasn't stopped folks from looking ahead and coming up with different plans for what the Bucs quarterback situation will look like in 2024.
ESPN lists three rookie QBs Bucs could target in NFL Draft
One of ESPN's NFL Draft gurus, Jordan Reid, looked at the Bucs potential needs and highlighted a few quarterbacks the team might target this upcoming April.
"It's time for a new face of the franchise, and that's probably more likely to come in the draft than free agency. The Bucs could be a trade-up candidate, targeting someone like Michigan's J.J. McCarthy in Round 1. Or maybe Tampa Bay opts to pair a veteran -- perhaps even Mayfield -- with a Day 2 signal-caller like Jayden Daniels (LSU) or Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)," Reid wrote.
This is going to be an ongoing conversation that grows louder the closer we get to the draft -- especially if Tampa Bay plays poorly the rest of the season.
If the Bucs land a top draft pick, it should not be used ona quarterback. Unless the team can land Caleb Williams, the gamble of using a high pick on a guy who isn't a clear cut above just doesn't make sense. Tampa Bay can use its first round pick to pluck from another talent tree -- someone like Keon Coleman or Laiatu Latu -- and then circle back to a quarterback later in the draft.
We're at that time of year where it feels like every notable quarterback has a first round grade, when that almost never ends up actually being the case. Sam Hartman is a guy who a few weeks ago was talked about in that light but has since fallen off, and the same could go for a number of other quarterbacks.
It's a wait-and-see situation, but the Buccaneers should simply be side-eyeing potential quarterbacks in the draft while spending most of their attention figuring out of the one under center now is the future.
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