WHAT THE BUCS HAVE AT QUARTERBACK
The Buccaneers feel they have their franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston after taking him with the overall No. 1 pick last year. Winston helped the Bucs set franchise records on offense, and the rookie eventually ended up in Hawaii as a replacement in the Pro Bowl where he threw two touchdown passes. But maybe even more importantly than what he was able to accomplish on the field, was the fact he had no trouble off of it. Many couldn’t wait to see the former FSU star fall on his face, expecting a constant barrage of indiscretions, but Winston has proven to be much more matured than his college days, and understanding of the position he is in as a face of a franchise. For now the Bucs also have Mike Glennon as Winston’s backup and would love to keep him as a member of the Bucs. But with Glennon set to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2016 season, the likelihood of keeping him on the roster beyond this season is slim. Tampa Bay, in an effort to prepare for what could be the departure of Glennon either via a trade this year, or free agency next year, kept Ryan Griffin on the roster last year in an effort to gauge if he would be an adequate replacement for Glennon. Tampa also signed former CFL quarterback Dan LeFevour this week.
WHAT THE BUCS NEED AT QUARTERBACK
If Glennon isn’t traded, the likelihood the Bucs even look at the quarterbacks in the draft are pretty remote, although Tampa Bay has had, or have, visits scheduled with Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan and also Razorbacks QB Brandon Allen according to reports. With numerous roster needs that need to be addressed, drafting a quarterback is unlikely, especially if Glennon isn’t traded.
BUCS BEST BET AT QB (EARLY 1-4) Kevin Hogan – Stanford – Senior – 6-3, 218 – 4.78
Hogan looks the part of an NFL quarterback with a good measurables, and playing at Stanford, he is obviously an intelligent football player. Hogan is tough, and not afraid to step up in the pocket when pressured, and will hang onto the ball until the last second, willing to take a hit in order to find an open receiver. Hogan has what scouts describe as an elongated delivery and there are question marks on how it will translate in the NFL.
BUCS’ BEST BET AT QB (LATE 5-7)
Brandon Allen – Arkansas – Senior – 6-1, 217 – 4.84
Allen was a three-year starter at Arkansas but it really took the last half of his senior season to get noticed. Allen’s completion percentage gradually increased during his three seasons as a starter, culminating with a 66 percent mark as a senior. Allen doesn’t have the ideal size and frame, but does possess a strong arm and good mobility to get outside the pocket and extend plays with his feet.
TOP 10 QUARTERBACKS 1. Jared Goff – Cal – 6-4, 215 – Junior – 4.82
Goff has moved ahead of Carson Wentz in many of the national pundits mock drafts, and part of that it is that the Rams, who traded the Titans for the overall No. 1 pick, are assumed to be favoring the Cal standout. Goff is thought to be a little more pro-ready than Wentz despite playing in the high-powered Sonny Sykes designed wide open spread offense, and will still require some adjustment to the NFL game. But Marcus Mariota’s ability to adapt as an under the center quarterback fairly easily last season for Tennessee has lessened the stigma of spread offense quarterbacks being able to adjust to more pro-style systems. Goff’s smaller built frame is a negative to some, but his accuracy and leadership are appealing to many teams, and likely the Rams who most feel will select the native Californian with the first pick in next week’s NFL Draft. Goff finished with 2015 with 4,719 yards and 43 touchdowns.
2. Carson Wentz – North Dakota State – 6-5, 234 – Senior – 4.77
When you draw up a prototypical NFL quarterback, Wentz is the model. Standing tall, with good mobility, a strong arm and above average velocity, the senior Bismark native has everything most QB-needy teams are looking for, with the only exception being the competition he faced in college. Despite that, many think Wentz has the most upside, but would be better served being drafted by a team that doesn’t need him to come in and be a franchise savior right out of the gate. The Browns, who signed Robert Griffin III, might be the perfect landing spot for Wentz who maybe could use a year on the bench, watching and learning the NFL game. Wentz finished his career at North Dakota State with 5,115 yards, 45 touchdowns and four interceptions while also adding 1,028 yards on the ground.
3. Paxton Lynch – Memphis – 6-7, 244 – Junior – 4.86
From a running back in high school to starter at quarterback in college, Lynch has come a long way in a short time. But with that relative inexperience comes some flaws in his game. Yet you can’t coach size and athleticism, and Lynch was able to put that on display during his junior year where set school records for yards (3,776), TD passes (28) with just four interceptions. Like Wentz, Lynch will be a little slower to adjust to pro-style offenses in the NFL, but has the necessary tools to be successful at the next level.
4. Connor Cook – Michigan State – 6-4, 217 – Senior – 4.79
From a pure talent perspective, Cook should be in the mix as one of the top two quarterbacks in this draft, but concerns about his personality and ability to fit into an NFL locker room have hurt his draft stock somewhat. Cook has good size and a solid frame to absorb NFL hits, while also possessing a strong arm and the ability to make nearly every throw. Depending on the team he ends up going to, Cook could potentially have or even exceed the careers of the other quarterbacks likely to be selected ahead of him. In his career for the Spartans, Cook threw for 9,194 yards and 71 touchdowns.
5. Christian Hackenberg – Penn State – 6-4, 223 – Junior – 4.78
As far a pure deep ball thrower, Hackenberg might be the best in the draft. Combined with terrific arm strength and perfect size, the former Nittany Lion standout and school record holder you would think he would be talked about in the mix as far as being the first quarterback taken in tho year’s draft. Unfortunately Hackenberg’s pocket awareness leaves much to be desired and his inability to read the whole field at times has knocked his draft status into the second day it appears. Hackenberg leaves Penn State as the school’s all-time leading passer with 8,457 yards and 48 touchdowns in his 38 career starts.
BEST OF THE REST 6. Cardale Jones – Ohio State – 6-5, 254 – Junior – 4.81
Jones may end up regretting not walking way from Columbus following his national championship run after the 2014 season where some scouts said he could have been selected in the first round of last year’s draft. Despite playing limited games in 2014, Jones was a star in the first ever college playoff series, leading the Buckeyes to a national championship after defeating Alabama and Oregon. Despite the 2014 success, Jones was unable to secure the starting job throughout the 2015 season, eventually taking a backseat to J.T. Barrett. Jones is still very raw and has been working with QB coach George Whitfield to strengthen his fundamentals, and most likely is still a second or third round draft pick in next week’s draft. Despite being somewhat inexperienced, his athleticism and cannon for an arm is intriguing to NFL teams. For his career Jones threw for 2,323 yards and added another 617 on the ground.
7. Kevin Hogan – Stanford – 6-3, 218 – Senior – 4.78
From the shoulders up there are very little questions when scouts look at Hogan. With an outstanding football IQ teams know they will get an intelligent football player with a good understanding of the game. Hogan is tough and not afraid to step up in the pocket when pressured, and will hang onto the ball until the last second, willing to take a hit in order to find an open receiver. Hogan has what scouts describe as an elongated delivery and there are question marks on how it will translate in the NFL. Hogan finished his Standford career with 9,385 yards, 75 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.
8. Dak Prescott – Mississippi State – 6-2, 226 – Senior – 4.79
Prescott was seeing his stock rise following his final season at Mississippi State and a good Senior Bowl, but a DUI charge back in March has some teams rethinking things. Despite the transgression, Prescott is said to be a high-character person and great leader inside the locker room, and the arrest may not change his draft stock too much if any after teams conclude their own investigation. The Louisiana native has great size and arm strength, but sometimes struggles with the mechanics of the game. Prescott leaves Mississippi State holding numerous records and finished his final season in Starkville with 3,793 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and five interceptions, while also rushing for 588 yards and 10 touchdowns.
9. Brandon Allen – Arkansas – 6-1, 217 – Senior –4.84 Allen was a three-year starter at Arkansas but it really took the last half of his senior season to get noticed. Allen’s completion percentage gradually increased during his three seasons as a starter, culminating with a 66 percent mark as a senior. Allen doesn’t have the ideal size and frame, but does possess a strong arm and good mobility to get outside the pocket and extend plays. Allen finished his career with 7,464 yards passing, 64 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
10. Jacoby Brissett – N.C. State – 6-4, 231 – Senior – 4.94
Brissett sat out the 2013 season after transferring from the University of Florida and immediately earned the starting job in Raleigh for the Wolfpack in 2014 where he put together two solid seasons. Not an incredibly fast straight line runner, Brissett does possess a knack for escapability, and is an elusive runner when scrambling. He has very good arm strength, but his mid-t0-deep ball accuracy needs improvement before he will have success in the NFL. During his final season for the Wolfpack Brissett finished with 2,662 yards while tossing 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions, earning All-ACC honorable mention honors.
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, the beach and family time.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 firstname.lastname@example.org