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The recent news that quarterback Tom Brady is expected to play at least two more seasons after signing a one-year extension with the Bucs is undoubtedly music to the ears of Tampa Bay fans, but that still hasn’t quieted the chatter about finding the all-time great’s successor. Picking at No. 32 overall, the Bucs have virtually no shot at one of the top five quarterbacks in the class. So their options would likely come down to an unexpected reach for the next best signal caller in the draft at No. 32, or selecting a passer later in the draft.
I’m here to tell you that both of those strategies are almost certainly bound to result in the Bucs wasting a draft pick.
First, let’s look at the options at No. 32. Almost no one expects the Bucs to select a quarterback this early in the draft, but if they did, it would be a passer with a high ceiling in the NFL.
“If the right guy is there that we think is a developmental guy that has the upside that outweighs every other position of those five-six guys that we’re looking at, then yeah,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. “We wouldn’t be against it. Same thing in the second round and the third round. If we have five guys and one is a quarterback and we think his development’s better than those positions, sure.”
Alabama QB Mac Jones mock draft

Alabama QB Mac Jones – Photo by: USA Today

With Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones all expected to be selected in the Top 10-15 picks, the Bucs are likely looking at the consensus QB6 in the draft. The options there seem to be between Stanford’s Davis Mills, Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond or Florida’s Kyle Trask, none of whom are projected to be drafted in Round 1. Taking any of the three would be a reach at No. 32 for the Bucs, especially considering there are some upside limitations to two of the three passers.

Mills is the traditional pocket-passing quarterback that Arians’ offenses have featured over the years, and his arm is fine, but he makes way too many ill-advised throws for a guy who offers next-to-nothing as a “playmaker” at the position. Mostly a non-factor when plays break down, Mills is at his best throwing in rhythm in the quick-passing game, despite fitting the physical mold of an Arians-type quarterback. Combine that with accuracy and decision-making issues, and Mills seems like a silly risk anytime early in the draft.
Trask is another pocket-passer who is tough and throws with great touch down the field, but he’s the polar-opposite of upside at the quarterback position. There’s very little velocity on Trask’s throws, and he’s one of the worst athletes amongst this quarterback class. The second weakness may not typically matter much in an Arians’ offense, but it’s also important to remember that GM Jason Licht is not necessarily drafting the next quarterback for Arians. He’s drafting the guy that can take the Bucs somewhere special regardless of who the head coach is. Trask is not that type of catalyst.
As for Mond, he definitely has the highest physical and athletic ceiling of the next wave of quarterbacks. But consistency has just never been there for the Aggies’ passer. Mond played well in Mobile as Senior Bowl week went on. His upside is his arm strength and flashes of aggressiveness throwing the ball. However, after starting for over three years, the lack of growth is definitely concerning. Maybe this is just all there is to Mond despite his tangible gifts at the position.
Even if you disagree with my assessments of these passers, there isn’t much belief that the Bucs will select one at No. 32, which leads me to my next point. If you’re drafting to find a future franchise QB, be aggressive in the draft. Take one in the first round or early. Or don’t do it at all. History has shown that drafting a QB outside of the top 40 spots is an exercise in futility.

Most Notable QBs Drafted Outside The Top 40 In The Past 20 Years

*Dak Prescott (2016)
Jimmy Garoppolo (2014)
Russell Wilson (2012)
Nick Foles (2012)
*Kirk Cousins (2012)
*Ryan Fitzpatrick (2005)
Matt Schaub (2004)
*Marc Bulger (2000)
*Tom Brady (2000)

*Denotes Day 3 pick

Not a bad list, huh? Well, now consider that these nine quarterbacks come from a list of 194 quarterbacks that have been drafted after pick 40 from 2000-2020. That’s a 17.5 percent chance of landing a QB as good as Nick Foles or Marc Bulger after pick 40. Three of these guys have been legitimate franchise quarterbacks – Brady, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott. That’s what the Bucs would be aiming for if they drafted a QB, as they already have a backup they like. Assuming Blaine Gabbert is re-signed. That’s a 5.8 percent chance at landing a franchise guy. Not great!

If the Bucs select a QB on Day 3, it won’t be a death knell to their draft grade. Once you get into Rounds 6-7, the hit rate is so low that it rarely matters. But the Bucs still stand a better chance of hitting on the pick if they draft a non-quarterback. Remember, only one or two quarterbacks play in a season. If a third QB gets out there, your season is over anyway. If you draft any other position with your sixth-rounder, that player has a legit chance to see the field and make an impact as player. Even if it’s just on special teams. Which the Bucs need, by the way, after losing Andrew Adams and Ryan Smith in free agency.

Florida QB Kyle Trask

Florida QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: USA Today

Selecting at No. 32 overall, the Bucs just don’t have a path to a franchise quarterback this year. And they shouldn’t draft one just to draft one. There are better odds of the Bucs drafting useful players with their eight picks if they don’t draft a quarterback.  If Licht takes the best non-quarterbacks available each time Tampa Bay is on the clock, focusing on fortifying aging positions on the roster and positions where the team is set to lose players in free agency next offseason, the Bucs’ Super Bowl window has a better shot of staying open long after Brady has finally retired.

Drafting late in the first round this year, the Bucs would be wise to use Brady’s (likely) final two offseasons to continue to strengthen one of the league’s best rosters. opening up the window to go all in on a trade or a move up the draft board for a quarterback in the near future. If the Bucs can do that, they’ll eventually have the flexibility to go all out for the quarterback they want via a trade or the draft, but this is not the offseason to worry about that. Instead, the Bucs need to focus on another wave of young talent on the offensive and defensive lines. Tampa Bay should also keep its eyes peeled for quality players slipping down the board as teams reach for need ahead of them.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Rob
Rob
2 months ago

Could not agree more with this. We’ve got two (at least) years with Brady and our SB window….we need players that will actually see the field with our picks. Drafting a QB makes zero sense to me at this point. MAYBE I can get on board with this thought in next years draft when we only have one more year of Brady…but we don’t need to waste a pick on someone who won’t touch the field for at least two years. And those who magically buy in to this “let them learn behind Brady” deal….tell me what backup QBs behind… Read more »

Eddie
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

Jimmy G is and will be a great QB in this league, just as soon as he can get out of the control presence head coach and his $125M contract.
He really was a mini Brady ( in one of the Patriot games, TV did a frame by frame comparison of his footwork and throwing motion of him and Brady and they were near identical)
But you are right, it is not Brady’s job to teach another QB, Tampa Bay have an army of coaches for that

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Eddie
2 months ago

There’s a WHOLE lot of projection in your judgment of Jimmy G. He’s played fine. He’s a solid starting QB. That is the absolute most he’s shown himself to be. Few if any QB’s in the league have been in a better situation than he was in as SF’s starter in 2019 – the best running game in football to go with the best defense in the game. An insane majority of his success, when he had it, came off of play action. He showed who he really was when they went down against KC late in the Super Bowl… Read more »

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

You’re 100% right. The Pats spent a lot of picks on long term hopeful Brady replacements: Rohan Davey, 4th round, 2002 Kliff Kingsbury, 6th round, 2003 Matt Cassel, 7th round, 2005 Kevin O’Connell, 3rd round, 2008 Zac Robinson, 7th round, 2010 Ryan Mallett, 3rd round, 2011 Jimmy G, 2nd round, 2014 Jacoby Brissett, 3rd round, 2016 Danny Etling, 7th round, 2018 Jarrett Stidham, 4th round, 2019 Far and away, the best of that bunch is Jimmy G, followed by either Brissett or Cassel. None of the eye-popping TEN quarterbacks the Pats drafted since Brady took the reigns at the position… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  toofamiliar17
2 months ago

Absolutely 100% spot on. Couldn’t agree more! Most of Jimmy G’s potential, came in 2016 when Brady was suspended. He looked like Brady in those 2.5 games. But the reality is, the 3rd string QB(Brissett), went out week 4, after Jimmy G got hurt, and shutout the Texans 27-0. This was supposed to be a great Texans team, and they ended up winning the AFC South. Yet even with a 3rd string QB, the Pats embarrassed the Texans 27-0. So I think it was more about the system that year, than it was about who the backup was. Outside of… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave
fredster
2 months ago

Agree. We have been horrible at drafting QB’s we can’t even find one in first rd let alone outside the top 40. It will be a wasted pick. They should try to target another free agent when Brady leaves. Also you say Prescott is a franchise QB like it’s fact. He is not in same league as Wilson nor am I sold on him as franchise QB. Will see but so far with elite talent al around him, he can put up great numbers on bad teams and win you 10 or 11 games maybe but don’t see him beating… Read more »

pinkstob
2 months ago

I don’t want Licht drafting our future QB period, so not drafting a QB in 2021 is a step in the right direction. I have to hope Licht either strikes gold again with another FA QB or isn’t around by the time we need to draft our future QB.

gcolerick
Reply to  pinkstob
2 months ago

Sound like another ignorant Licht hater. The man has put together one of the most impressive rosters in recent history and you’d rather turn the reins over to someone else. Wake up and smell the roses brother.

pinkstob
Reply to  gcolerick
2 months ago

I would argue the lure of playing with Tom Brady drew in talented players that were willing to play for less than they’re worth is how we got an impressive roster last year. Brady also inspired the existing players to play better than they ever have before, as he has a history of doing.
I give Licht credit along with Arians for luring Brady to Tampa. Licht didn’t impress me as GM before Brady and I have a feeling I’m going to go back to being not impressed after Brady leaves.

jongruden
2 months ago

How ironic that is this article he writes about Trask not being a good athlete yet we won 2 sb’s with Brad Johnson and Tom Brady lol its very ironic and funny to me

drdneast
2 months ago

I’m going to scream if we draft a QB, especially if he isn’t mobile because that is the direction the NFL is going.

Eddie
Reply to  drdneast
2 months ago

NFL is a dynamic league with excellent coaches. Mobile QB will be schemed out in a few years, we should look a QB that is the future, whatever the future is. ( Thats what we pay out coaches and GM for )

Spitfire
2 months ago

I’m torn on the QB thing. It’s a very good point that, barring any injuries, we can spend the next 2 Drafts solidifying the depth and future and whatever position possible and set us up with Draft Capital to spend on moving up to find our next QB in the 2023 Draft if Brady is in fact done then. The only thing that scares me about all that is blowing Draft picks to move up and then be short for another few years like we were after the first Super Bowl with all the 1st and 2nd rounders we gave… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
2 months ago

My opinion is that with the current NFL landscape you need a QB with a quick trigger. Mobility is a bonus but if you have a slow or awkward release your chance of NFL success drops massively.
I just don’t see it in this draft to be honest. Better to build up the team the next two years and then draft a QB if Brady moves on with a stacked team and a rookie QB for five years to really stack the team further.

Naplesfan
2 months ago

Ledyard brings up the same old, same old stupid argument that only a small percentage of quarterbacks drafted in the mid to later rounds works out. But that is true of every position. So nobody should draft anybody after the first round? Well, the GOAT would never have existed. A relatively small percentages of quarterbacks drafted in the first round, or even the top five picks, ever work out long term for the teams that drafted them. Like, uh, the Bucs, for instance. Remember them, and Jameis Winston? Or LA and Jared Goff. Or Chicago and Mitch Trubisky. Etc. etc.… Read more »

gcolerick
Reply to  Naplesfan
2 months ago

I’ll bet Jon Ledyard speaks highly of you!

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Naplesfan
2 months ago

There is no position at which the percentage of great players is more dominated by first round picks than QB. Literally, not one. Let’s just look at current QBs in the league – for nearly dead guys (i.e. Big Ben), let’s judge them based on who they’ve been for their careers rather than for who they are today. I’ll use The Athletic’s list of QB tiers (there’s a paywall, unfortunately, but I’ll use their list. Tier 2 is the last tier of theirs that is made up of clear franchise QBs: Tier 1 Mahomes (1st round) Wilson (3rd) Rodgers (1st)… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  toofamiliar17
2 months ago

Don’t forget about Tannehill(who’s in the 8-12 range). Clear franchise QB(or at least he is IMO), who was drafted in the 1st.

Naplesfan
2 months ago

We don’t need self appointed experts giving unwanted and ignored advise to Jason Licht and Bruce Arians. They know what they have, and what they need, and they have a draft board, and they will draft the best player available, regardless of position.
Everything in this post is a waste of mouse clicks and keyboard strokes.

gcolerick
Reply to  Naplesfan
2 months ago

Yea that’s right Jon. We are not interested in what you think or have to say. Matter of fact, I think all of the PR staff should just stop posting any articles or news and we will just all sit around and wait for Mr. Naples to bless us with his unsolicited diatribe.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Naplesfan
2 months ago

Grumpy Old Men, Scene 1 Take 885, annnnnd ACTION!!!

gcolerick
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
2 months ago

Well, this grumpy old man just doesn’t make it a habit of trashing the organization that provides a free service to entertain and enlighten us with Buccaneer knowledge. I happen to appreciate what the Pewter Report staff does whether I agree with what they say or not.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  gcolerick
2 months ago

I agree. That wasn’t directed towards you

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Naplesfan
2 months ago

Man, it’s a good thing PR doesn’t share your viewpoint, or they wouldn’t exist at all. Sure, there would still be Bucs news, but if that’s ALL we got here, we could go anywhere for it and get close to the same thing. Do you realize how silly it is for you to essentially generally rail against opinion-based editorial content while posting on a message board (which you frequent and on which you post often) of a website that is comprised largely of opinion-based editorial content?

Horse
2 months ago

I enjoyed the Article Jon. BPA based on OLB/Edge Rusher, DT, CB, OL in that order.

Captain Sly
2 months ago

Jury is still out on Jalen Hurts, Drew Lock, Gardner Minshew, but the same could be said about Dwayne Haskins, Josh Rosen, Mitchell Tribisky, Paxton Lynch, Marcus Mariotta &on&on&on… Since 2000 there have been a number of serviceable QB’s taken after pick 40 that have had better careers than most 1st rd picks: Chad Henney, Josh McCown, Tony Romo, David Garrad, Kyle Horton, Matt Cassell &on&on. Kurt Warner came out of the Arena League in 98’ leading the nfl in td’s & passing yards. It’s a false statement to say “drafting a qb outside of the top 40 spots is… Read more »

seat26
2 months ago

The only reason it doesn’t make sense to draft a QB is because historically, Tampa has a dreadful past with QB drafts. Licht included. But in light of how well Licht has drafted in recent years, maybe that is changing? In the history of the Bucs they have never signed a drafted QB to a second contract. Picking up someone in free-agency might be a better idea. But it would be foolhardy to think that because Brady performed brilliantly at 43, that he can continue to do so indefinitely. We definitely need a young gun to groom for what is… Read more »

toofamiliar17
2 months ago

These are all great reasons to pass on a QB this year. I’ll add another one, which I think is also a big deal – even IF there was merit to drafting a QB late to develop, doing so at THIS point would make no sense. The single greatest benefit of having a good young QB is being able to take advantage of his well below market salary to build up the team around him. Brady is clearly going to be here for at LEAST two more years, and maybe even three at this point. If we were to use… Read more »

scubog
2 months ago

The great Ron Wolfe had a philosophy to always draft a QB to develop. His rationale was that QB needy teams would come calling as the 49er’s did with Jimmy GQ and Indy did with Craig Erickson. Problem is that many of these these guys look promising as back-ups when there is no pressure on them. Then once they become “The Man” they often struggle. Every year QB’s are at or near the top of the Draft Board and every year half of them will disappoint their team. Teams maybe give up on their “savior” too quickly so guys like… Read more »