The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in a couple of rookie quarterback prospects for private workouts today. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater and SMU QB Garrett Gilbert. It was interesting to see they were looking at Bridgewater, since he is projected to be a top-10 pick and the Buccaneers are now expected to go for a wide receiver to replace Mike Williams in the first round. It is probable that Bucs are just doing their due diligence, as Bridgewater has visited with all of the teams picking in the top 10 as well as the New England Patriots.
Garrett Gilbert, who transferred to SMU from the University of Texas, has begun picking up a little steam heading into the draft, as he had an excellent pro day. His pro day was so impressive, some, including Munstangs’ head coach June Jones, said “It was the best since Jeff George at Illinois’ pro day in 1990″. Senior NFL analyst Gil Brandt said “Someone will take (Gilbert) in the second, third, fourth round and get a guy who is going to play in this league for the next 15 years.” He was not invited to the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis so this was many teams’ first chance to evaluate him in person.
Gilbert may be the kind of quarterback the Bucs target come May. They are now in need of a wide receiver so that is surely where they will focus in the first round. But to have options like Murray, McCarron, and even Gilbert in the later rounds can help them begin to groom their future franchise quarterback. GM Jason Licht said when interviewed on Tampa’s local 98.7 The Fan that “I believe there are franchise quarterbacks in this draft. I just won’t tell you which round I think they’ll go in.” Licht, who was part of draft day rooms that drafted the likes of Tom Brady and Nick Foles, who were not first rounders, has a way of being able to find the right fit without the high profile attention or expectations that come with those first round selections.
One thing is certain; the Bucs are very much in the quarterback market, but not so much that they have to take one on day one of the draft. The talent is there in the later rounds. It’s just a matter of finding which one best fits this team and their plans moving forward.