Speculation mounts regarding the direction the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Bucs brain trust reportedly loves Johnny Manziel and second year quarterback Mike Glennon is on the trade market. The Buccaneers were viewed as playoff contenders at the start of last season until the bottom fell out under the Greg Schiano regime. With new General Manager Jason Licht and Head Coach Lovie Smith, the team makes another fresh start with a generally good roster. Current starting QB Josh McCown is viewed as an acceptable starter; however, many see the Bucs swinging for the fence with a big draft splash at quarterback.
The Buccaneer’s biggest area of need is wide receiver. If the Bucs do not draft a QB with their first pick the likely targets will be Sammy Watkins of Clemson or Mike Evans of Texas A & M. Vincent Jackson remains the team’s only receiving threat at the moment. Any change to the quarterback position will not produce positive results unless the new QB has some targets for his passes. Other team needs to address in the draft are offensive guard, defensive end and cornerback. The team possesses six draft picks, missing only the fourth rounder given up to the New York Jets in the failed Darrelle Revis experiment.
The Buccaneers reportedly want a second round pick as compensation for a Mike Glennon trade. Given that the team may have decided the young QB does not fit in their future plans, any interested teams may stare down the Bucs and get the second year player for something far less valuable. Some predict the Tampa squad will make a trade with the Rams to move up five slots in order to select Manziel. The team does have some amount of flexibility given the few real needs to fill on their draft board. The choice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2014 NFL Draft appears to be between picking a strong number two receiver in the seventh slot, taking Blake Bortles of UCF or Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville at that pick or bundling together the seventh pick and other selections to move up to number two for Manziel.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford earned a reputation as a quarterback whisperer while he was head coach at Cal. His progeny include Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Boller, Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington and David Carr. While only Rodgers has truly been a top notch NFL signal caller, Tedford knows how to get the most out of young quarterbacks. Lovie Smith probably hired Tedford with quarterback development in mind.
If Tampa goes the quarterback route in the first round and still has a second round pick, then wide receiver targets in that round could be Davante Adams of Fresno State or Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss. Bucs fans, along with other NFL team fan bases, are excited about the potential of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquiring Johnny Football in the 2014 NFL Draft. If the team fails to trade up in the first round to get him, the fans still could receive their quarterback of the future or a standout wide receiver. All eyes are focused on the new Buccaneer’s management team to see which way they will go.
Commentary by William Costolo