Give us your draft rankings for the top quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL draft.
We're ranking the draft prospects by position this year, and we're doing it via polls. Today we're looking at the top 5 quarterbacks: who would you list at the top of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft board, and who would you drop? You can rank the top 5 here -- we'll do 6-10 later, and maybe 11-15 even later.
The ultimate goal here is to get a serviceable list of prospects for the Bucs -- not just just for any NFL team, so keep that in mind. This will have some effect with the quarterbacks, though the Bucs' scheme is still largely an unknown, but is more important at more scheme-fit oriented positions like defensive linemen and linebackers.
Big thanks to Dawgs By Nature for putting this thing together.
So, vote and let us know how Bucs Nation thinks about the top quarterback prospects in the NFL. It'll be really interesting to see how the wisdom of crowds does compared to the Buccaneers themselves.
Here are the results from yesterday's poll on offensive tackles.
Gabe Jackson and Mike Evans are boring, safe picks. That's where Mel Kiper's going. More interesting is the question who they're passing on in the draft.
Mel Kiper's latest 2014 NFL mock draft is out, the fourth edition of his mock draft, and he's taking the safe route with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans in the first round, and Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson in the second round.
Analysis: The Bucs brought in a new QB and addressed some needs on defense in free agency, but I still see wide receiver as a pretty significant need, with Vincent Jackson 31 and entering what could be his final season in Tampa, and no depth behind him. And if you just want to be able to say you're drafting the best player available on the board at this slot, if you take Evans, you can do that too. Evans makes up for a lack of short-area burst (and thus the ability to separate underneath) by dominating at the catch point, particularly up high. The combination of him and Jackson will be a matchup nightmare, particularly in the red zone.
This is boring. Mel Kiper, you are boring. Mike Evans and Gabe Jackson are both solid selections that fill obvious needs, although drafting Gabe Jackson that high may be a bit of a stretch, especially with Xavier Su'a-Filo on the board there. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and linebacker Kyle Van Noy would be interesting choices at that point, too, as would a receiver like Donte Moncrief.
What's more interesting, though, is that in the first round, Johnny Manziel is the only quarterback off the board at that point. That means the Bucs pass on Blake Bortles, who they reported would draft at number seven (but it's lying season), it means they pass on Derek Carr, who has some connections to the Bucs, and it means they pass on Teddy Bridgewater, my personal favorite quarterback. It even means they pass on Zach Mettenberger and Jimmy Garoppolo in round two.
That doesn't really match what we know of the Bucs' draft plans. They want a quarterback to groom behind Josh McCown, and possibly start this year. We don't know which quarterbacks they really like, though reports suggest they want either Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, but it seems like a stretch they'd pass on effectively every top quarterback. It's not impossible, just a little unlikely, in my opinion.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will draft UCF quarterback Blake Bortles if he's available at the seventh overall pick, according to Charlie Campbell of Walter Football. Campbell used to work for Bucs magazine Pewter Report and still has contacts with the Buccaneers. He also nailed the Johnthan Banks pick last year even months in advance, so this report has some credibility.
The same report notes that the Bucs want to add a quarterback to sit and develop behind Josh McCown for a year, but that they don't believe that Bortles will be available at the seventh overall pick. Still, the team does not appear interested in moving up, and Campbell notes that the Bucs will look to take the best player available at the seventh overall pick, instead.
This report comes on the heels of several reports that the Buccaneers love Johnny Manziel and would take him with the seventh overall pick if he fell. That begs the question: which one of the two would they take if both Bortles and Manziel were available?
Bortles is an interesting prospect, mostly because of his physical tools and pocket presence. His size and mobility give him an obvious advantage, while he's generally accurate and has a good (but not great) arm, despite some mechanical issues. The fact that he knows he needs work on those mechanical issues and made an obvious effort to correct them over the past months is encouraging as well. Bortles' best trait may be his pocket movement and awareness, which at times is reminiscent of Andrew Luck's. Unlike Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo, he does not shy away from pressure or look at the pass rush.
Campbell points specifically to the UCF prospect's mobility and pocket presence as big assets for the Bucs, which fits Lovie Smith's past remarks, as well as Jeff Tedford's college offenses which featured a lot of roll-outs and bootlegs. Interestingly, Bortles is the only top quarterback who hasn't visited the Buccaneers, as far as we know. That may be due to an oversight in media reporting, or the Bucs may have instead worked out Bortles at UCF or in his hometown of Oviedo, Florida.
As with the reports of the Bucs' interest in Manziel, we can't take this report at face value. The draft is in three weeks, and this is the period when team sources frequently (and some would say exclusively) lie to reporters to create misdirection, smokescreens and confusion among other teams (and the public). That doesn't mean the Bucs aren't interested in Bortles, either. It just means that this is lying season in the NFL, and none of these reports can be taken as gospel.
All the Tampa Bay Buccaneers news.
Carr Visits Bucs On Wednesday; Says He's The Best QB In Draft-Pewter Report
Every QB thinks that.
Bucs’ McCoy: Will be in camp regardless of contract talk
He's one of the highest-paid DTs in the league. Of course he'll be there.
Jumps Off the Tape: Austin Seferian-Jenkins is so smooth - SBNation.com
Possible second-rounder for the Bucs.
The St. Louis Rams Are Hosting A Horrible Contest — FootballPerspective.com
Hah, no one has a shot at guessing the schedule.
First-Person Footage Shows Us What It's Like To Play Linebacker
That's pretty cool.
What Josh Freeman's signing says about Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib and the Giants - SBNation.com
It says they wanted a backup.
Give us your draft rankings for the top offensive tackles in the 2014 NFL draft.
We're ranking the draft prospects by position this year, and we're doing it via polls. Today we're looking at the top 5 offensive tackles: who would you list at the top of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft board, and who would you drop? You can rank the top 5 here -- we'll do 6-10 later, and maybe 11-15 even later.
The ultimate goal here is to get a serviceable list of prospects for the Bucs -- not just just for any NFL team, so keep that in mind. This won't have a huge effect with the offensive tackles, but is more important at more scheme-fit oriented positions like defensive linemen and linebackers.
Big thanks to Dawgs By Nature for putting this thing together.
So, vote and let us know how Bucs Nation thinks about the top offensive tackle prospects in the NFL. It'll be really interesting to see how the wisdom of crowds does compared to the Buccaneers themselves.
Josh Freeman is now a New York Giant. The guy who once looked like a franchise quarterback is now signing on to be a backup behind an actual franchise passer.
The New York Giants will sign quarterback Josh Freeman, as first reported by Adam Caplan, and confirmed by Mike Garafolo. The Bucs won't face Josh Freeman in the regular season this year, as the New York Giants won't be one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2014 opponents. Of course, they may face their former franchise hopeful in the playoffs -- though that seems unlikely given his recent performance.
Freeman's fall from grace was not all that swift in Tampa, but it was decidedly odd. A promising rookie campaign was followed by a terrific 2010 performance which led many to believe he'd finally be that franchise passer the Bucs have never had. A disappointing 2011 season was waived away as a consequence of offensive injuries, and a total team collapse. Then 2012 came, and Freeman was inconsistent at best, despite terrific performances by Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Doug Martin.
2013 turned out to be a disaster. Greg Schiano continually fueled offseason speculation that he wanted to move on from Freeman. The team drafted Mike Glennon in the third round. Josh Freeman turned in three horrendous performances in a very strange and limited offense, and eventually forced his way out of Tampa amid a slew of ugly incidents between the team and quarterback. He got a chance to start one more game in Minnesota, but unsurprisingly failed to put in a quality performance after spending all of one week with the team. He hasn't returned to the field since.
I'm not sure we'll ever know why Freeman crashed so spectacularly. Was his 2010 season just a mirage? Did off-field issues lead to a drop in performance? Did he lose focus or lose his interest in football? Did he fail to put in the work necessary to develop as an NFL passer?
All Bucs fans are left with is a bitter taste in their mouths, and the vague hope that Josh McCown, Mike Glennon or yet another draft pick can be the guy Freeman never developed into.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might consider trading up for the right prospect, but an offensive tackle ain't one of them.
Why do national analysts continue to think that offensive tackle is a need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? They signed Anthony Collins, they have Demar Dotson at right tackle, and both are under long-term contracts. And yet somehow, I keep seeing Jake Matthews and even Taylor Lewan show up in mock drafts.
As if that wasn't insane enough, Charles Davis apparently decided to experiment with some mind-altering drugs while writing his latest NFL.com article on teams who are likely to trade up in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Bucs have a big need at offensive tackle, but there's no guarantee one of the top three will be available if they stand pat with the seventh-overall pick given that the position is an area of need for most of the teams drafting ahead of them. If the Bucs are going to ensure themselves a chance to draft one of the top three tackles, they should be looking to move up to the fourth- or fifth-overall pick.
All of this is complete nonsense.
A) The Bucs do not have a need at offensive tackle, let alone a "big need". They just signed Anthony Collins to be their starting left tackle, and he's not going anywhere, while Demar Dotson played very well at right tackle last year and is under contract for another three seasons. They do have a big need at offensive guard.
B) The Bucs want more picks, not fewer. If anything, they're likely to try to trade back, especially if Sammy Watkins if off the board. Whether they can do that remains to be seen, however.
C) If they were to trade up, they'd have to see their target as clearly, head and shoulders above everyone else at that position, and they'd have to see that position as a big need. Sammy Watkins fits that, while Jadeveon Clowney's transcendent talent may be worth trading up for. There's an outside shot they love a quarterback enough to trade up for, or they see Greg Robinson as a dominant guard who can transition to tackle with time. Those are possibilities, albeit remote ones.
D) Trading up from the seventh overall spot for Taylor Lewan is pure insanity, no matter what team you are.
E) This is not going to happen.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers love pass rushers. Or rather, Lovie Smith, Leslie Frazier and everyone associated with the Tampa 2 defense love pass rushers. They build their defensive schemes around getting pressure with four rushers, and you need quality pass rushers to do that, as well as depth. The Bucs signed Michael Johnson, but beyond him have very few players they can truly count on as edge rushers.
If the Bucs were to draft Barr, they'd almost certainly see the 6'5", 255 lbs. college linebacker as a 4-3 defensive end. The Dallas Cowboys reportedly see him the same way, and with core Tampa 2 designers Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli there, they're likely to see pass rushers the same way the Buccaneers see them.
The fact that Barr is a bit of a raw prospect only makes this selection more likely: he could sit and develop behind Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn, coming onto the field as a situational pass rusher initially. The Bucs perfected this approach in the 1990s, when they drafted six defensive ends between 1996 and 2001, while signing Simeon Rice, developing Stephen White and holding on to Chidi Ahanotu.
He's a pass rusher. The Buccaneers love pass rushers. Especially large, explosive ones. Sure, Barr is a little undersized for a defensive end and hasn't played with his hand in the dirt much. That means he's not an ideal fit, but he still displays a lot of the necessary physical traits to develop into a disruptive pass rusher down the road. And the Bucs would give him that room to develop, with Michael Johnson set as the starting right defensive end.
Barr is not a good run defender, despite outstanding effort, and will have to learn to play the run as well as learning the nuances of playing from a three-point stance. He'd give Leslie Frazier an extra weapon, especially on passing downs. A group of, say, Michael Johnson, Gerald McCoy, William Gholston and Anthony Barr could provide a devastating pass rush on third down.
The problem is that this doesn't fill a need, and the seventh overall pick is likely too early for Barr to be selected. If the Bucs were to pick Barr, they'd be passing on upgrading their offensive guard and wide receiver positions for at least one round, and they'd likely only do so after trading back in the first round.
Still, Barr does fit the Buccaneers defense, they do love their pass rushers, and if they can find a way to add picks and trade back, this is a realistic option.
Anthony Barr really grew on me as I watched him play in those five games. At first, it bothered me that he was obviously physically gifted, but wasn't always dominant. I came to believe that it was more of a coaching issue than anything else. The technique was there, but the undersized Barr was asked to try to run through guys rather than around them to make plays far too often. That shouldn't be a problem when he gets to the NFL.
Though there's no question Barr showed that he has a lot of upside, I wouldn't rank him up there with Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack. He is just a hair behind those guys. His athleticism is good, but he isn't close to being the physical freak that Clowney is. Barr is about even with Mack in most areas except for functional strength, where there is a big difference. I think Barr is going to be a very good NFL player, but there is no way I would take him over Clowney or Mack, no matter what defense I was running.
There's as much hype about Barr as an edge pass rusher as anyone not named Jadeveon Clowney, but these spotlight videos show he still has plenty of work to do to become a complete edge player. That said, the speed, the burst, the closing ability, the fluidity and the athleticism are ALL evident. As a senior in 2013, he created mayhem in bunches. He'd have games in which he couldn't be blocked and then another contest in which he completely disappeared. Against Arizona in 2013, he didn't register one stat. Not one tackle. Not one sack. No real impact at all. That's my biggest worry...that he dominated competition with his speed and athleticism for so long that he'll struggle making the adjustment as a football player.
Anthony Barr is an exceptional physical specimen. His combination of length, first-step quickness and straight-line speed gives him the tools to be an impact player off the edge in the NFL. As should be expected from a player with his lack of experience, he also has a lot he needs to work on. Few players have as much room for growth as Barr. That's the plus side to drafting him earlier. The downside is he may not make much of an impact early and banking on his development is risky. In the late first-round or early second-round range, he's worth a shot, but earlier than that is quite the gamble for a team to make.