Bucs GM Jason Licht & ex-HC Lovie Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The significance and importance of the No. 1 draft pick in this year’s NFL isn’t lost on Bucs general manager Jason Licht.
“This is the most important pick, potentially, in the history or the franchise,” Licht told Si.com’s Peter King last weekend in Indianapolis.
In his latest edition of his weekly MMQB column, King spent time with Licht at the NFL Scouting Combine, and came away feeling former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will be the Bucs pick on April 30, after taking to a number of fellow writers and some NFL personnel. But King was also quick to point out there is still work to be done.
On Monday King wrote, “It’s too early to be so definitive, of course. And I don’t believe the Bucs have a final answer, because they have not come close to finishing their due diligence on Winston, and they intend to spend 30 hours of alone time with both Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota before the draft. But a Saturday breakfast with the formerly invisible Licht, the most influential football man in the league for the next two months, didn’t do anything to disabuse the idea.”
While Winston, from most accounts, wowed teams with his personality, football IQ and performance on the field, Mariota reportedly also made strides. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner looked solid in his footwork – something NFL front office personnel wanted to see – in addition to showcasing his superior athletic ability in the 40-yard dash.
How big is this pick for the Buccaneers? King pointed out a fact that most Bucs fans are familiar with, but maybe not so many outside of the Tampa Bay community.
2015 marks the 40th season of Buccaneer football and in the entire history of the team, Tampa Bay has never given a quarterback a second contract. Not Doug Williams, not Vinny Testaverde or Trent Dilfer. When thinking about that stat, it may actually trump the kickoff without a return for a touchdown one that was brought up every single Bucs game for over 20 years. Truly mind boggling.
Could Winston or Mariota be the first one? Perinnial playoff contenders seem to always have stability and above quarterback play. It doesn’t necessarily equate to Super Bowls, but it does get you in the tournament. The Buccaneers organization is due. Long-suffering Bucs fans are overdue.
Licht summed up the importance of the situation.
“But I’d be lying if I said I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the off-field stuff,” Licht said. “It’s always in the back of your mind. We’re people too. We have wives and daughters and bosses to answer to. And at the end of the day we will do the kind of due diligence the likes of which I don’t believe the Bucs will have ever done. This decision is going to affect so many people and their families. We’ve got to get it right.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
@the title – Lol, I should hope so!
That’s something I have never thought about, that the Bucs have never given a second contract to a QB. That in itself is hard to believe. We need to get this pick right! I assume most everyone knows I’m in the Winston camp for sure but I could also see us go Mariota. I don’t think we can screw this up as both QBs look like franchise players. I just hope we pick the best of the two.
Kinderrt – Yeah… That’s amazing that the Bucs have never given a second contract out to a QB. I wonder if it’s more incompetence or luck to never hit the QB lotto in 40 years? Probably a combination of both. I’m a believer in what comes around, goes around and it’ll be the Bucs turn. Hopefully, very soon… like in two months! e
e.. Sure is nice to have the #1 pick and need a QB with two good choices available. Hopefully this will bee the year we get a QB that can last 15 years or more. This pick is huge as we could jump to the top of the heap if the guy we pick turns out to be a Brady, Manning or a Rodgers.
My concern is that JW has been coached up on what to say and how to act just like Johnny Football was last year. Have to try and figure out what is real and what is coached up, or we end up like Cleveland last year. Tough decision and tough choice.
No telling what the GM and Coach will actually do; heck they might just take their highest rated player and position doesn’t matter.
Great read ..
Marcus Mariota is the right choice , the Bucs have a difficult decision to make.
The last paragraph tells you all you need to kn0w. Decision has not been made. The media blitz anointing Winston as the choice is hot air. Only L&L are the ones with skin in this game. Winston may not want to talk about his past but he will be asked and he better have an answer about whether he wants to play baseball too.
“Long-suffering Bucs fans are overdue.” No truer words were ever spoken!
“Choose wisely my son.” – Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade The Holy QB Grail may not be flashy…or maybe it is…
O.K., scratch trading down,or drafting another 3 tech with the first pick as some have suggested. I like both these kids, but Winston has a big edge with me. Never had a franchise Q.B., so naturally never extended any of them. Pretty much why we’ve been bottom feeders for so long. Men that’s about to change. Let that smile shine Jameis, fire up them troops, then fire up them cannons!!
I like them both too but no matter who we pick with #1 if we don’t get the O.L. right whoever we have will be throwing picks while falling backwards after they have the running game shut down.
I disagree that we never had a franchise QB – Steve Young is a HoFer, Vinny was a franchise QB too, Doug Williams seemed franchise enough, and for all his faults if we had helped Freeman instead of trying to run him out of town he would have got a second contract. My point is, a franchise QB is what you make of him too, not just what he makes of you. Either of these kids could be our franchise QB but both if them need a good head coach, a mentor, teammates, a good QB coach, a good OC, attention from the front office, and help from outside when they need it….if we try the usual stuff – throw them to the wolves and watch them sink, then run them out of town, we will miss again at QB.
good points…steve young had 7 years to learn how to be a QB in the NFL before he became a starter on a really good football team… i think now these young QBs are thrown to the fire way too soon, on poor teams w/poor Olines, & no stability in coaching…most of the “busts” go thru a new QB coach and/or OC every season
I’d think that Tampa should draft Jameis Winston and see what gems are in the other 7 picks-Go Bucs
Ahh, yes, I thought ‘gems’ was what you meant to post before georgehicks
If you are going to draft Winston here are a few more draft choices that fill our needs and have never been covvicted of their crimes 1)Frank Clark DE-domestic violence 2)A J Johnson MLB-pending trial for rape but not convicted 3)Ron Darby CB-likes to watch and video MM do the deed, lose the video when investigators ask for it months later and refuses to testify 4)Noah Spence DT-likes date rape drugs 5)DGB WR-violence against women 6)Karlos Williams RB-domestic violence. Those 6 along with WW have never been convicted of a crime, fill many of our needs, and if you place winning above character are perfect fits for the Bucs.If you are going for one you might as well takes them all. Really establish TB as a class act that views winning above all else.
We Bucs fans Are surely overdue for some success,hopefully the guy we choose will bring it…
MM is solid off the field and the question marks are wether his on field skills will translate to a pro system- our lack of an o-line his mobility might save his ass until we fix the line…
JW is solid and pro ready on the field but his off the field rep is crap.He is the pocket passer we need,but our lack of o-line might put a guy like him in harms way and potentially shorten his career…
we need a franchise QB and one of these guys will be that guy.
I now really hope we keep Glennon and let him start the season unless the other gents are kickin his ass in practice/preseason…This way Glennon takes a pounding and saves our guy or allows the other to adjust his game…Maybe the muscle hamster needs to get traded so we can get more meat for that o-line…
If either of these guys make it thru the season without gettin hammered we need to stack the o-line as much as we can in next years draft and thru rounds 2-7this year- not to mention FA..
This team has forever stocked its defensive lake of players while the offense was left to dry up- you need solid production from BOTH sides of the ball- the current/past Defense only rep needs to die…
I agree that we have had franchise QB here already, but incompetence got in the way. That’s what happens when you never draft OL.
Either QB will do well with the targets they’ll have available in Evans, Jackson, and ASJ. I tend to lean more toward Mariota because his speed can buy time behind that mess of an OL we have currently. I believe he has the work ethic to address any on-field concerns and he carries zero off-field liability. 2nd round if there’s a good enough MLB I’d say get him then draft OL from there on. If not, start on the OL in round 2. Maybe grab a slot receiver with return skills after addressing OL. With a good OC, QB, and improved OL play we should have enough to compete in the NFC South.
This Pick will cement the legacy of Smith and Licht in Tampa. They get it right and they will be remembered for great decision making. They screw it up and they will end up like Ray Perkins.
i’D THINK THAT GM AND HC KNOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST SELECTION. AND I BELIEVE THAT’S VERY IMPORTANCE. BUT WHAT ABOUT BACKUP PLANS OF WHAT TAMPA WILL DO IN THE OTHER SELECTIONS! ALSO WHAT VETERANS FA WOULD BE SIGN IN THE OFF SEASON. AND WHAT EXISTING BUCS PLAYERS WOULD BE TRADED, AND ARE THEY CHANGING DEFENSES! 2015 WILL BE VERY INTERESTED. GO BUCS
While Lovie and Licht will have considerable input in this pick.The pick will be made by the Glazers.So it’s whoever they want as the face of the franchise…
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