Bucs would be comfortable selecting a quarterback “if things align”
The Buccaneers have only two quarterbacks on their roster, and their starter turns 44 in August. At some point, Tampa Bay will have to start thinking about the future at the position.
Is that time now?
Tom Brady is signed through 2022 and plans to play at least two more seasons. Ryan Griffin is the only other quarterback on the roster for now, though Blaine Gabbert remains a free agent and still could re-sign. But neither Griffin nor Gabbert is the heir apparent to Brady.
The Bucs will consider drafting a quarterback if its the right player at the right pick, General Manager Jason Licht said this week.
“You just want to make sure that you’re not picking a quarterback just to pick a quarterback,” Licht said, via Scott Smith of the team website. “You want everybody to be onboard, and the guy’s got to have the right mindset. He’s got to be, obviously, talented and can throw the ball, but he’s got to be somebody that we all feel comfortable with above the neck. There’s always positives to drafting a quarterback if all those things align.”
Since the draft was shortened to seven rounds in 1994, the Bucs have selected three quarterbacks in the first round, one in the second, two in the third and one each in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. Jameis Winston, Josh Freeman and Trent Dilfer, the first-rounders, did not work out as planned.
The Bucs still appear to be in win-now mode, which means a quarterback in the first round would seem unlikely, but, with all 22 starters returning, they also don’t have a lot of holes.
A rookie quarterback would get the benefit of sitting for a couple of years and learning from the greatest player of all time. He also would benefit from the presence of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, a former NFL quarterback, as well as quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen and assistant coach Tom Moore.
“There’s always pros to drafting a quarterback for us because of our coaching staff,” Licht said. “Bruce [Arians] and Byron and Clyde and Tom Moore – I mean, you couldn’t think of a better staff to groom a quarterback.”