Bucs On Right Side Of NFL Divide

March 1st, 2017


Things could be a heck of a lot worse.

While diehard Buc fans break down the potential free-agent pool and try to find tape of a safety from Appalachian State, other NFL clubs head into the new NFL calendar looking for the Big Kahuna.

A quarterback.

And good luck to you, Jets, Browns, Bills, Broncos, Rams, 49ers, Texans and Bears.

Yes, the Bucs need help in several areas. They hope to come out of the draft and free agency with a speedy wide receiver, an impact running back, an upgrade at center and another quality defensive lineman.

It’s an ambitious list, but the Bucs have the money, desire and draft pedigree to check off the boxes. Now imagine if they didn’t have Jameis Winston under center.

What does it say about the scarcity of big-time quarterbacks around the league when brittle Tony Romo is coveted as a savior? Despite attempting only 94 passes during his three seasons as Tom Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo is now being viewed as the next Troy Aikman.

That’s called desperation, people.

Top-10 In Tampa?

“There’s only eight or 10 franchise guys in the league,” says NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. “I could name you half the league that needs a quality starting quarterback.”

Not here in Tampa, Mike.

Like Winston, Marcus Mariota appears to have a very bright future. That 1-2 tandem atop the 2015 draft could own this league by the end of the decade.

But when you look at the quarterbacks who were available in 2016 and then gaze at this year’s crop, it makes you realize just how important it was for the Bucs to land their man.

It wasn’t easy.

Let’s remember that in the 2014 season finale, Tampa Bay led New Orleans 20-7 at home early in the fourth quarter.

This was a problem because the 2-13 Bucs were in grave danger of ceding the first overall pick to the Titans. And with all due respect to Herm Edwards, in this case, you play to lose the game.

So the Bucs brain trust did just that. Mike Evans didn’t play in the second half,  joined on the sidelines by a healthy Lavonte David.

Another Down Year

After the 23-20 setback, former head coach Lovie Smith said the Bucs wanted to look at other players at wide receiver and weak-side linebacker.

Nice try, Lovie. Those are called alternative facts.

But the strategy worked and now the Bucs have a quarterback they trust while other clubs scramble to find a keeper in the draft.

“I don’t have any quarterbacks anywhere near the Top 10,” says Mayock. “As far as this particular draft, any of those top four guys — Kizer, Watson, Trubisky and Mahomes — I don’t have a Top 10 grade on any of them.”

Maybe last year’s No. 1 pick, Jared Goff, will work out for the Rams. Perhaps Carson Wentz, chosen at No. 2, will lead the Eagles back into prominence. On initial glance, last year’s draft class wasn’t exactly a bonanza for quarterbacks — with the exception of Dak Prescott.

And I don’t see a Winston or a Mariota coming out of this 2017 group, although Jon Gruden is conducting another QB class for ESPN. Surprise, surprise.

Good luck drumming up much excitement for DeShone Kizer, who barely completed 50 percent of his pass attempts in his final two games with Notre Dame last November.

Meanwhile, the Bucs might be on the lookout for a backup quarterback.

World of difference.

14 Responses to “Bucs On Right Side Of NFL Divide”

  1. StPeteBucsfan Says:

    Let’s hope the teams ahead of us do not agree with Mayocks analsysis! I certainly do agree with him.

    If the teams ahead of us agree then they’ll be picking WR’s and RB’s instead of taking a gamble on a QB. Most mock’s I see though have at least two and maybe three QB’s going before 19. We need that to happen to give us a shot at Dalvin and other top talents.

  2. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    That’s a great point, St Pete, and a very valid concern. Could this finally be the year no QBs are taken in the first round? That would impact the draft board.

    Ira, I love your articles!

  3. Clodhopper Says:

    I LOVE these article that remind us just how lucky we are. It warms up my insides just as much as this steaming cup of coffee!!

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete, I’ve given up trying to figure out who’ll potentially still be on the board when the Bucs draft at #19. But I think one thing’s for certain: with all the Bucs’ priority needs (WR, RB, TE, DE, DT, S, OT, C) we’re going to hit (starter quality) with our 1st pick assuming that Jason Licht goes with BPA at one of those positions. Tend to think that we’ll still do OK with our 2nd & 3rd picks (rotational players as a minimum), but after that it’s anyone’s guess.

  5. DBrad67 Says:

    I think unless we move up our shot at Dalvin or any of Our projected picks we be in disarray due to our placement and the needs of other teams or is it jockeying or pure pick hatred i.e. Picking another teams guy just out of spite….. my hope it to get Dalvin and OJ or Njoku first of all imagine that line up against any defense…ok I’ll call em off for you… ME,TP your two tight end sets CB, OJ or NJ and in the slot you’ve got Hump!!!! and the backfield you’ve got Dalvin or AP with a fullback like Mike Tolbert!!!! Weapons what Weapons that is a *bleeping* arsenal

  6. Miko Says:

    Trubisky looked good this year, might turn out to be something…having a franchise QB is certainly a plus after years and years of uncertainty…

  7. mike Says:

    We need these qbs to warm up. Hopefully 3 go in the top 15 so someone falls to us. Its not impossible that some falls in love Malhoms and he goes before pick 19.

  8. Bobby M. Says:

    Never been much of a Winston fan but he is a franchise QB and that changes the outlook tremendously. I believe we can win with Winston consistently if he gets stability at RB & WR….and a defense that can bail him out of his slow starts and turnovers. My personal pick if available…MCCaffrey. He provides tremendous versatility, very explosive player and outstanding work ethic. He’s a player we can snag and possibly trade down to get while snagging an additional receiver as well. I think on defense you fill holes with proven talent while continuing to groom the younger players.

  9. JJBucFan Says:

    As a Nole fan, I have watched both Trubisky and Watson, I believe if put in the right offense , Watson could be a superstar. This guy has every tool. I, for one, look forward to this guy leaving Clemson, but I am also looking forward to seeing him at the next level. I would take him over Trubisky 10 outta 10 times. JMO

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    Funny! We were having this discussion this morning at work. I feel the same as Ira. Outside of Watson, nobody really stands out as 1st round talent and Watson I see as a Geno Smith in terms of where he should be drafted: late 1st early 2nd.
    Somebody will be desperate though. This will be a hard draft to predict.

  11. Wausa Says:

    I agree
    Watson in the right system can be a very good NFL QB.

    We are very lucky we have Jameis. Don’t forget this upcoming year should be the rookie year for Jamies.

  12. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Watson is a stud but we should resign MG8 and focus on real issues. Like RB, WR, Safety, CB, Center, RT, DLine help…

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    Good article Ira.

    Ya done good Jason Licht! Hat tip to Lovie and Koetter and the Glazers – all of whom had to sign off on the Winston pick.

    I and others who said over and over pre-draft that Winston was one of the best QB prospects in 10 years were spot on. Glad GM Licht had a similar opinion 🙂

  14. teacherman777 Says:

    EJ Manuel would be a great signing as a backup.