INDIANAPOLIS – Tampa Bay has a cheap quarterback who played pretty well as a rookie last season. There's no real reason for the Buccaneers to consider a QB with the seventh overall pick of the NFL draft, but they're apparently considering that option.
The Buccaneers' attitude toward Mike Glennon seems to be positive but only to a point. There always seems to be a "Yeah, but ... " attached to the praise.
That isn't unfair or unusual for a quarterback entering his second season, especially one drafted in the third round the year before. The reason that's more than idle chatter is the Buccaneers' refusal to discount the possibility of using the seventh pick on a quarterback. That makes them one of the wild cards in the first round, a team that could throw a wrench into a lot of plans.
Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith told the Tampa Bay Times that people shouldn't be surprised if the team takes a quarterback at No. 7, saying "Whenever you have a chance to get a franchise quarterback, you have to consider that.'' At the combine on Thursday, he backed off a bit but did say everything is being considered with that pick, including quarterback.
"It’s an option, like every other position," Smith said. "You could ask me every other position, I’d say ‘Yeah’ to that too.
"We’re coming in new. We’re looking for the best available guys to improve our roster. All positions are open."
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said, "We want competition for Mike," which opens up many possibilities for that role.
"There’s still a lot you have to evaluate," Licht said about Glennon. "You don’t get a real fair picture of him just off the tape. He’ll get every chance to be the starter."
Glennon was the best rookie quarterback last year. He had 19 touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 83.9 rating, a good season considering he was thrown into the starting lineup after Josh Freeman imploded. At the combine, the Jets talked up Geno Smith and the Bills praised EJ Manuel, although neither 2013 rookie played at Glennon's level. The Bucs talked up Glennon some, but there was always hesitation.
"Mike Glennon can make every throw you'd ask a NFL quarterback to make. Mike isn't the most mobile guy in the pocket, so we'll always be working to improve on some of those things," said Smith, who told the Tampa Bay Times that "you're not there" when it came to declaring Glennon the quarterback of the future. "For a rookie to come in and have success in the league, you have to like part of that. He has a lot to learn, like most rookies do."
Maybe this is a fantastic game of chicken the Buccaneers are playing with teams behind them in the draft. For example, the Vikings have the eighth pick and an obvious need at quarterback. Even if the Bucs have no interest in a quarterback at No. 7, if their public stance convinces Minnesota to trade up, it's a win for them. That means Minnesota would take a quarterback ahead of them and a quality player they need (offensive tackle Jake Matthews? Outside linebacker Anthony Barr?) would slip another spot. Then that's smart.
But if the Buccaneers are serious about drafting a quarterback with the seventh pick, it's an interesting/odd/weird/wrong move, especially since the seventh pick could fill another immediate need on a very talented roster. One would assume that if they did follow through on that threat, there would be plenty of calls to Tampa Bay looking into the availability of the 2013 all-rookie team quarterback.
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- Mike Glennon
- Lovie Smith