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May 3, 2014 @ 2:15 pm
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PewterReport.com's 2014 QB Draft Preview + Bucs' Best Bets

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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How big of a need is quarterback for the Buccaneers? Who are the best of the 2014 crop and which quarterback in the early or late rounds could end up in pewter and red? Find out in this 2014 draft preview.
Pewter Report begins its annual draft preview listing the top players at each position and also offers up two Bucs' Best Bets, one in the early rounds and one in the late rounds. See where Pewter Report ranks the players and who they think makes the most sense for the Buccaneers. First up are the quarterbacks.

WHAT THE BUCS HAVE AT QUARTERBACK

The Buccaneers wasted little time in free agency, targeting former Chicago and veteran quarterback Josh McCown. McCown had a terrific season in 2013 in relief for an injured Jay Cutler, tossing 12 touchdowns and just one interception, and leading the Bears to a 5-3 record in his eight starts. Tampa Bay is hoping that type of production continues here under the guidance of offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford. The biggest issue with McCown is his age as he will be 35 years old in July. As mainly a career backup, McCown has little wear on the tires, but Smith knows he isn’t the long-term answer. Behind McCown is 13-game starter Mike Glennon, who tossed 19 touchdowns as a rookie in 2013. However, despite good numbers, Glennon doesn’t appear to be in Tampa Bay’s plans as Tedford is most likely looking for more athleticism from his quarterback. Mike Kafka rounds out the Bucs' current QB roster, and while he has a strong arm, has never shown a ton of promise in the NFL during his brief career.

WHAT THE BUCS NEED AT QUARTERBACK
Tampa Bay, at some point, will need to address the future at the quarterback position. As mentioned earlier, with McCown turning 35, no one in the organization sees McCown being able to play five years down the road. And with many thinking that Glennon could be moved during next weekend’s draft, finding a developmental quarterback could be a priority in this year’s draft. The Bucs want an athletic, mobile quarterback with great accuracy, good arm strength and a solid football I.Q. Don't be surprised if the Bucs select a quarterback early in the 2014 NFL Draft so that person could be groomed under McCown this year.

BUCS’ BEST BET AT QB (EARLY 1-3) – Fresno State QB Derek Carr
Carr could be the perfect quarterback for Tedford’s offense, and also for Smith, who wouldn’t have to deal with the chants of Johnny Manziel from the stands if the McCown-led Bucs offense has periods of ineptitude at times this season. Carr isn’t the dynamic personality that Manziel is, and in fact, is very much in the mold of Smith and McCown – something that most likely is appealing to the front office. If Tampa Bay trades down and takes Carr, the lack of fan pressure to start – that would certainly come with a Manziel or a Blake Bortles, who played down I-4 at UCF – would allow Carr to sit and develop behind the veteran McCown. Carr has great athleticism, a very strong arm, high character, a track record of productivity as a three-year starter and is very accurate.

BUCS’ BEST BET AT QB (LATE 4-7) – SMU QB Garrett Gilbert
Gilbert, who started his career at the University of Texas, is one of those sleeper quarterbacks that saw his stock rise after a solid pro day where he reportedly completed 80-of-81 passes. Showing a strong arm, and the ability to make all the throws, the Buccaneers brought him to Tampa Bay for a visit. Most likely if the Bucs decide to draft a quarterback, it will be early but they could take a flyer late on Gilbert, who has great size and mobility and bring him in to learn for a season or two behind McCown.

TOP TEN QUARTERBACKS
1. QB Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M – Sophomore – 6-0, 207 – 4.63
Manziel is a dynamic football player and personality. Confident – some would say cocky – but short in stature, this quarterback plays much bigger than his size, and has the potential to be superstar in the NFL. Manziel has that “it” factor teams crave from the position that demands leadership and production. After a monster freshmen season that earned his the Heisman Trophy, Manziel finished his brief two-year playing career with 9,993 yards passing. There are chinks in his armor – sloppy technique, the propensity to leave the pocket too early, questionable decision-making off the field and such – but the upside is huge. Great coaching, combined with a willingness to listen and get better, could help turn around whatever franchise ends up taking the Texas native.

2. QB Blake Bortles – UCF – Junior – 6-5, 232 – 4.88
Out of all the 2014 QB prospects, Bortles may be the safest pick. The UCF superstar played in a pro-style offense, and while no one will compare him to Robert Griffin III, Bortles is deceptively athletic and moves very well in the pocket. Extremely tough, with a solid arm, Bortles was also extremely productive during his Knights career, producing 71 career touchdowns (56 passing, 15 rushing) and a 22-5 career record as a starter. Bortles could use a little more polishing with mechanics particularly developing a bit more touch on his throws, but has demonstrated a strong work ethic during his college career.

3. QB Derek Carr – Fresno State – Senior – 6-2, 214 – 4.67
Carr was dynamic over his career at Fresno State, including a monster senior season that saw him throw for 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns while completing 68.9 percent of his passes. Red flags were raised though, as he struggled at times against upper-echelon competition, including a poor performance in the Las Vegas Bowl against USC. Going to a team that doesn’t have pressure to throw him into the fire in Week 1 most likely would be the best scenario as Carr perfects certain nuances of his game. Whatever teams gets Carr will have a quarterback with an arm strong enough to make all the throws and a fiery, high-character leader.

4. QB Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville – Junior – 6-2, 214 – 4.79
The mysterious slide of Bridgewater is a bit puzzling and he could fall out of the first round. Some have used his slight frame as a reason, yet he is bigger than Manziel. Others have latched onto his poor pro day as an excuse, yet the tape against actual opponents, particularly upper-tier competition, is excellent (Florida in the 2012 Sugar Bowl). Of all the quarterback prospects, Bridgewater seems to have the best game film, especially when facing blitzes and pressure, going through his progressions and being a leader. While athletic, Bridgewater, who threw for 9,817 yards with 72 touchdowns and 24 picks in his career, is not a dual-threat quarterback in the mold of RGIII or Colin Kaepernick. Scouts compare him more to Russell Wilson, which is not bad company.

5. QB Jimmy Garoppolo – Eastern Illinois – Senior – 6-2, 227 – 4.94
Garoppolo is an intriguing prospect for a number of NFL teams and figures to be a second-round pick. Obviously raw and unpolished due to the spread shotgun based offense he ran in college, Garoppolo possesses a number of tools that have attracted teams around the league. Perhaps the tightest spiral thrower in the draft, you could literally hear his passes whistle at the East-West Shrine practices in St. Petersburg earlier this year, yet he doesn’t have elite arm strength. He is a natural leader who also possesses a level head, rarely getting flustered. Garoppolo has a lot of work to do, but has the necessary tools, such as a very quick release, to become a quality starter in time. He threw for over 5,000 yards as a senior, averaging 360 yards per game with 53 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

6. QB Tom Savage – Pittsburgh – 6-4, 223 – 4.97
Savage has burst onto the scene as of late and some scouting services have him ranked as high as No. 5 in this quarterback class and a possible selection in the second or third round. There are certainly some positives in his game like arm strength, toughness and intelligence, but Savage will never overwhelm anyone with his athleticism and looks sluggish at times in the pocket. His accuracy has also come into question at times, but Savage is not afraid to stand tall, step up and deliver a hit. He has had to learn three different offenses due to transferring from Rutgers, to Arizona State and then finally to Pittsburgh and some teams will look at that as a plus, while others may question his loyalty. He had marginal statistics as a senior at Pitt, completing 61.2 percent of his passes for just under 3,000 yards with 21 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

7. QB A.J. McCarron – Alabama – Senior – 6-3, 220 – 4.93
McCarron did little to improve his draft stock by skipping the Senior Bowl, although some reports said he had a shoulder injury suffered in his bowl game. Scouts are still trying to determine exactly what type of NFL quarterback McCarron, who figures to be a mid-round pick, will be, but there is no question what type of college player he was. All McCarron did for the most part was win, and win often. But was he a product of the system that gave him an incredibly talented offensive line in Tuscaloosa along with an outstanding defense? Most feel he has an average at best arm, and while he has prototypical size for the position he lacks muscle mass on his thin frame and some wonder how he will hold up to the pounding of the NFL. Still no one should question is mental toughness or leadership after four seasons playing for Nick Saban. A 36-4 record as a starter and three championship rings will make teams stand up and take notice.

8. QB Zach Mettenberger – LSU – Senior – 6-5, 224 – N/A
The main thing keeping Mettenberger from top 5 QB talk is an ACL injury suffered last December. The former Georgia Bulldog signee had an excellent senior campaign with former Ravens offense coordinator Cam Cameron running the LSU offense in 2013 where he completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 3,082 yards with 22 TDs and eight interceptions. Some early career off-the-field concerns still haunt Mettenberger, but to his credit, he appears to have matured. With desired NFL size and arm strength, Mettenberger could end up being second-day steal for a team not in need of immediate quarterback help. Tough, smart and deceptively athletic, there is a lot to like about the Georgia native.

9. QB Aaron Murray – Georgia – Senior – 6-1, 207 – N/A
Like Mettenberger, Murray saw his stock suffer with a late season ACL injury. Murray, a Tampa, Fla. native, doesn’t have the perfect NFL desired size, but it is hard to argue with his production. Four straight 3,000-plus yard seasons against SEC competition is an incredible feat no matter how tall you register on the height scale. Murray completed 63 percent of his passes for 13,166 yards with 121 touchdowns and 41 INTs. Scouts also love how Murray was able to get better each of his four seasons and even fare better by squashing the knock of not playing well in big games.

10. QB Connor Shaw – South Carolina – 6-0, 206 – 4.62
Shaw won a lot of games for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks in his career and finished as the best career in South Carolina history for a quarterback, throwing for 6,074 yards with 56 touchdowns and only 16 INTs, including 24 TDs and just one pick as a senior. Like Murray, Shaw isn’t the biggest physical specimen in the draft. He also doesn’t have a rocket for an arm, which hurts his stock among scouts, but is very athletic and displays edge speed. A natural leader, Shaw is most likely a Day 3 draftee and if he can add some size to his frame could be a solid developmental guy down the road.

BEST OF THE REST
QB David Fales – San Jose State – Senior – 6-2, 212 – 4.99
Fales showed great accuracy in his career, especially in 2012 when he completed 72.5 percent of his passes. Has a decent arm but his spirals tend to come apart in mid-flight at times.

QB Brett Smith – Wyoming – Junior – 6-1, 205 – N/A
Smith is a throwback-attitude QB who plays with a chip on his shoulder and can win over teams with his attitude and work ethic. Accuracy needs to improve when throwing on the run, but scrambles well. Threw for 8,829 yards with 76 TDs and 28 INTs, but should have stayed for his senior season.

QB Garrett Gilbert – SMU – Senior – 6-4, 221 – 4.83
Gilbert was a Texas recruit who eventually transferred to SMU after graduating early. Many were surprised he wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine due to his size, arm and scrambling ability. Former Cowboys talent evaluator Gil Brandt thinks he is a better prospect than some QBs who are ranked higher.

QB Keith Wenning – Ball State – Senior – 6-3, 218 – 4.99
Wenning had a superb senior season making Ball State history after completing 296-of-454 passes for 3,933 yards with 34 touchdowns and only six interceptions in the regular season. Not known to have cannon, his accuracy and ball placement are impressive according to scouts.

QB Tajh Boyd – Clemson – Senior – 6-1, 222 – 4.84
Boyd had a terrific college career at Clemson winning his last two bowl games, including a dramatic back-and-forth game with Ohio State in this year’s Orange Bowl. Is the ACC all-time passing leader with 11,904 yards with 107 TDs and just 39 INTs. Small build but solid frame, Boyd struggled during Senior Bowl week to ever get in a rhythm.

QB Stephen Morris – Miami – Senior – 6-2, 213 – 4.63
Morris was a big disappointment for Hurricanes fans his senior season due to an ankle injury, showing little improvement in a year many thought he would take the next step. Poor decision made for frustrated fans and coaches all year. Still has some talent, excellent athlete with a strong arm.

Last modified on Thursday, 08 May 2014 18:37
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    Can't wait to see this rediculously long process finally unfold. It should tell us quite a bit about who the new Lovie really is and where they want to go w/ this thing. With the present staff and QB situation, I feel much better than pre-draft last year. Addition-by-subtraction can be a good thing & it's sometimes worth an epic meltdown to move on and not be hamstrung anymore. I'm excited about the opportunity to grab a top QB prospect somewhere in the 1st rd because hopefully we'll be winning more and won't get the benefit of a top 7 pick again for awhile. I also won't be dismayed if they go another direction here, as long as they go for production over potential, and grab someone w/ a good head that plays hard consistantly. Love to see either Manziel, Watkins, Mathews or Carr in a Bucs uniform this fall. Go BPA.....Go Bucs....
  • avatar


    My thinking is we need wr 1st we have one productive guy in Jackson...and a bunch of nothing after him...we traded away the other high productivity guy! Glennon proved last year that he has talent that can be coached and he has a vet in front of him to do that coaching...if we don't trade down and Evans is still in...we need him.
  • avatar

    IMO,best scenario is a trade down with San Fran.According to draft value chart 2 2nds and a third equal the jump and SF has those picks to deal with limited holes to fill. That would give us A late first( 29). 3 2nds,2 3rds.= 6 picks in the top 90, and 4 in the top 65 You cane really make a team better with that kind of ammo to work with.Just sayin
  • avatar


    Carr is my favorite QB in the draft. He has the best production, most TDs and quickest release. He has accuracy, mobility and arm strength. The problem is that if we want him we will have to take him at 7. Otherwise he is going to the Vikings. Is there a better prospect that fits an immediate need and can start right away? Yes, there are a few and will be some even if we trade down. So I don't see us taking Carr at 7. I hope we can get Brandin Cooks at whatever we trade down to. He is a prototypical receiver for Tedford's system and exactly what we need. An OL that will move to guard in the second round is the most glaring need. In fact we may need two of them. It won't matter much who we have at QB is we can't protect them and both our starting guards are at best second string talent. We have to fix that or our offense will suck at everything. Lovey says you can win 8 games with excellent defense. Can we hold teams to less than 13 points per game? Because without starting quality guards that is what we will be looking at next year.
  • avatar


    Horse that is true , we do need help at all those positions . But the truth is that no guard is available that is worthy of a first round pick! I would go WR in the first round and this is with a trade down to pick up more picks. Then with second depending on who is the best available I would go with a QB and then a guard with the third pick. With the trade down we pick up a fourth and also maybe another third so we can plug holes accordingly with the remainder of our picks. This draft is very deep and I truly believe that trading down is the best way to go because we can address so much more and really improve our team with some depth.
  • avatar


    Please no more lemons from Clemson!
  • avatar


    Here's the scoop. The Bucs are in win now mode and decide to take a couple of players that can help them win now instead of a QB. They trade down in the first round and take WR Brandin Cooks. A prototype for Tedford's offense. They take a guard in the second round and eventually they take a QB in Tajh Boyd. Tajh has the accuracy, mobility and arm strenght required of Tedford's offense.
  • avatar

    Some of you all are calling for QBs and positional help that don't fit our scheme,or don't make sense at all.Why in the world would we take a hobbled statue like Mettlenberger?We already have a pocket guy with experience who we are trading away.They want mobility! Why would we take a LB with a premium pick?Foster and David are solid and great and Cassilias&Fletcher will be fine for a position that is only on the field 40% of the time. We can get a stud franchise OG in the third,lots of good ones will be there.Turner for example. We need a QB to groom and A pair of wide outs.The young ones on our roster like Streeter,So promise but add in some slot help and another outside guy and we are golden. I will agree with Our host, Carr is the best/most realistic pick for what WE are trying to do.I see it rolling out like this Trade back in first for more picks if there.If not stand pat and take who we need regardless of what the so and so experts say is a players value. 1. Carr-QB 2.Devonte Adams-wr(statistically the best WR in NCAA )and Carrs go to,so we get the double bubble.If you haven't seens his clips,do so he is unbelievable.very quick w/great hands. 3.Turner(Lsu)orThomas(Clemson)OrJackson miss st-OG 5Dt-Reid from Princeton if there 6.wr-Hoffman(Byu)Archer(Kent st)or Reese (Baylor) 7.Jenea Thomas-cb Georgia tech-dudes small and fast but a ball hawk.
  • avatar


    If you can't really, really tell for sure whether Johnny Football or Bridgewater would be better than an unheralded QB from Clemson (I would take him over either of the first two, if only for durability) that tells (screams at?) you to not take a QB in round one. Lovie should know better. Hope so.
  • avatar


    Got to be a undrafted FA QB this year. I'm going with A. Donald DT Pitt. Or trade down and take M. LEE WR USC.
  • avatar


    Gotta tell ya Donald has great hands but his get off isn't all that great from what I've seen. I think he will dominate in one on one practices and may be the best tackle but I am telling you he does not get off the ball very well.Mettenberger is as good a QB as there is in this draft, that guy is heads and tales above Murray and Shaw ,he is an Nfl QB all day long whether he knows it or not.Btw Gerald McCoy has the best get off I've ever seen but his hands are worse than Eric Curry,Keith McCants and Adrian Clayborne.Donald has Selmon type hands but Curry type get off.Bucs will do everything they can to trade down,cap / contract/future contracts requires it.Mettenberger is a top three QB in-this draft but not a dam fool knows it.Jake Mathews will play for 10 years but Taylor L , Michigan tackle is probably the best tackle right now, yes he is a better tackle than Robinson, no if ands or buts.Just a lil draft chatter !!!!
  • avatar


    Hilarious scubog. Young is a hall-of-famer and superbowl winner, but not for us. Williams won a superbowl with a sensational performance, but not for us. Dilfer won a superbowl, but not for us. Vinny played for 44 years, until he was 65 and threw 132,000 yards and 700 TDs, but not for us. I feel your pain. Glennon will probably go to NE and eventually replace Brady, and win a superbowl; but not for us.
  • avatar


    ? Bridge water is the only QB I would take in this draft and they would need to trade down for that to happen. If they don't get more pass rushers then they'll have the first pick next season. That's why the first pick will be one of the LB's. Second pick (trade up) to get Kony Ealy. Remember Tony Dungys' first draft? Two DE's in the first round. To play cover 2 you must destroy the QB
  • avatar


    I'm hopeful that one of these players will be wearing pewter and red this year. Manziel in the 1st, Carr in the 2nd or Garoppolo in the 3rd. Seems we've been looking for a star QB since Steve Spurrier showed up here with his Heisman Trophy. It feels like we've been through more QB's than there are stars in the sky. As Carl Sagan would say, "billions and billions". Oh, we've had our chances to draft one. From Doug Williams, who I think had the best throwing motion, but it was said could overthrow the Ayatollah- to Steve Young, who nearly suffocated in the Green Bay snow- to Vinny Testaverde, who threw so many gift interceptions he was almost named philanthropist of the year- to Trent Dilfer who almost caused Mel Kiper to rethink his rant against the Colts in 1994 for selecting Trev Alberts- to Shaun King, who got fat faster than Kristie Alley- to Josh Freeman whose free-fall is the biggest mystery since B.D. Cooper jumped out of an airplane and likewise disappeared with all that cash. So here were are once again, poised to draft the newest "face" of the franchise that has had more facelifts than Jerry Jones and Joan Rivers. "Looking gooooooooooood!"
  • avatar


    Scubog; all the more reason to not draft a QB at spot 7.
  • avatar


    Manziel or Bortles at 7.
  • avatar


    Finally someone from Pewter Report comes to their senses and starts laying the ground work for the later round drafting of a QB. We need a OG and after that a WR, DT, LB, another OG, before we even look at a QB. Why do I say that? We can still keep Glennon. If we do trade Glennon, then lets use that draft pick to find a QB. Let our early round picks help to deal with more serious needs. PewterReportMC, what do you think we could get for Clayborn in a trade? How about Aldo Smith swap?
  • avatar


    Horse that is true , we do need help at all those positions . But the truth is that no guard is available that is worthy of a first round pick!
  • avatar


    If we have to pick a QB In the 1st I would take Carr over Manziel, but what do I know.
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