Don’t Rule Out Quarterback Or Left Tackle

April 21st, 2009 offensive line analyst Steve Campbell explains why it wouldnt shock if if the Bucs grabbed left tackle Andre Smith of Alabama if he slips to No. 19. offensive line analyst Steve Campbell explains why it wouldn't shock him if the Bucs grabbed left tackle Andre Smith of Alabama offensive line analyst Steve Campbell makes his first appearance since the end of the 2008 season and explains why the Bucs may be reaching for NFL bust-in-waiting quarterback Josh Freeman. Campbell also details why it wouldn’t shock him if the Bucs selected a left tackle, especially if Andre Smith slips.

When the Bucs signed free agent quarterback Byron Leftwich,  a collective sigh was let out in the Tampa Bay area.

Nobody is mistaking Leftwich as the next Tom Brady, but most Bucs fans are clear they don’t want the Bucs to select a quarterback, specifically Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman.

The common thought around the area is the acquisition of Leftwich means the Bucs are set at quarterback. I happen to disagree with that assessment. Make no mistake, Byron Leftwich is an upgrade over anything the Bucs have at quarterback, but he is not a long-term answer. And I don’t think the Bucs have that long term answer on their roster.

Luke McCown has virtually been holding a clipboard for six seasons, and I’m not sure why anybody thinks the light will come on this year? He gets sacked at an alarming rate, and that points to a problem between the ears and reading defenses.

The Bucs could use Leftwich as a stop-gap solution until they can draft a quarterback next season, which is supposedly a deeper quarterback draft with Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow.

As it stands now, there is nobody on the Bucs roster at quarterback to keep this team from taking a chance on a guy like Freeman. They have nobody on their roster that can come close to Freeman’s physical skills. The knock on Freeman is consistency, and that is my biggest issue with him. If Freeman were consistent at all, he would be a top five pick on Saturday with the skills he has.

There are no bigger impact positions in the NFL than quarterback, left offensive tackle and defensive end. All you have to do is look at the salaries of those positions and you can see how NFL teams value having impact there.

I’ve made my case on why the Bucs might take a quarterback at the 19th pick, but another position the Bucs could look to upgrade is left offensive tackle.

The Bucs signed Donald Penn to a one-year tender, refusing to give him the long term deal he was seeking. Penn played well most of the first half of the 2008 season, but wore down in the second half, particularly during the four-game nosedive in December. Penn seemed to gain weight as the season went on, and I can’t help but think that had something to do with his regression in 2008. I don’t think the Bucs view Penn as a long-term solution at left tackle.

This draft happens to be a very deep draft for offensive tackles. If a talented player like Alabama’s Andre Smith or Ole Miss’ Michael Oher falls to No.19, the Bucs could snatch one up.

Now, these are just two scenarios that I think could play out on Saturday. But if I had to guess, I agree with draft expert Justin Pawlowski that the Bucs probably do go defense.  Pawlowski pointed out on his radio show, “The Blitz” on 620-WDAE, that he thinks the Bucs are targeting defensive players with their 19th pick.

In Pawlowski’s latest mock draft, he has the Bucs selecting Florida State defensive end Everette Brown. I love that selection, based on defensive coordinator Jim Bates’ history with fast, undersized defensive ends. Elvis Dumervil had 12.5 sacks working under the tutelage of Bates in 2007, and saw his total fall to five in 2008 without Bates. Dumervil, like Brown, is undersized and has a great first step.

7 Responses to “Don’t Rule Out Quarterback Or Left Tackle”

  1. dave Says:

    I can’t wait to hear all these bozos back-tracking on McCown when he lights it up this season.

  2. JoeBucsSteveCampbell Says:

    dave-what evidence are you basing that Luke is going to “light it up” this season? Did him holding a clipboard for 6 years give you all the insight you need?

    Believe me, I hope you’re right. It would be better for this franchise if he excels and beats out Leftwich, because we know what Byron is.

  3. Jagsfan Says:

    Agree that Luke will light it up. More evidence for him than on a rookie. But it’s all wishful thinking. Luke is hardly a star. It’ll take a miracle on Dale Mabry

  4. Joe Says:

    While Joe loved what McCown did against the Saints a couple of years ago, the main question Joe always had was, if McCown was anywhere near as good as Raheem The Dream, Bryant, Sgt. Winslow has made McCown out to be, then why the hell did a s(p)it team like Cleveland let him go?

    Joe sure hopes Dave is right. Freeman will set the Bucs back five years.

  5. MTM Says:

    I understand Luke studied film of Steve Young. Holding the clipboard for the Niners. And he is ready to make a splash this year.
    Well lets hope so.

  6. crease22 Says:

    Joe – You trying to say you think the Browns are a judge of talent? Pleese. And that was years ago.

  7. MTM Says:

    One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.