There is one position where you must have a certain skill set to become one of the Bucs’ best draft fits: quarterback.
Jason Licht made that clear in his most recent press conference.
“The guy’s got to have the right mindset and got to be obviously talented and can throw the ball,” Licht told reporters. “But he’s got to be someone we all feel comfortable with above the neck.”
That’s pretty straight forward. So, which quarterbacks in this year’s draft are the best draft fit for the Bucs?
1. QB Kellen Mond, Texas A&M Aggies
Projected Selection: Rounds 1-2
The continuously-building buzz around Mond is strong. There are even some first round vibes. While I see him as the sixth quarterback off the board and a firm second-round prospect, he could sneak into the late-first to a team that wants the fifth-year option.
Mond has all the poise of a seasoned pro. He has a quick release, he spreads the ball around, and he quickly finds the open receiver. The former Aggie possesses all the traits you want from a starting quarterback. If he has the right setup, then there’s no reason to think he won’t succeed in the NFL.
A streaky collegiate career is what keeps Mond out of the conversation for top quarterback prospects. He can make poor decisions and often doesn’t go through all of his reads. There’s uneven tape where he forces questionable throws to receivers in coverage. Mond is more of a developmental guy with the ability to potentially be a starter at the next level.
Some team is sure to fall in love with him. If the Buccaneers are interested, they may have to trade up in the second to secure the Aggies quarterback.
2. QB Kyle Trask, Florida Gators
Projected Selection: Round 3
Kyle Trask fits the mold of what Bruce Arians looks for in a quarterback: big body, a good arm, and a quick processor and release. Scrambling ability isn’t a priority, but Arians does like a stout enough runner who can make short-down conversions with their legs.
Everything seemed to click in Trask’s final season with the Gators. He finished with a 180.0 passer rating and completed 68.9 percent of his passes, while throwing for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns. He did have eight interceptions, but the more jarring number was the 20 sacks he took. A true pocket passer, Trask would benefit greatly from learning behind Brady and this coaching staff.
And per Jason Licht, this staff is one of the best when it comes to developing quarterbacks. Sounds like a perfect fit, no?
3. QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest/Georgia
Projected Selection: Rounds 4-5
Jamie Newman is a dual-threat quarterback with a strong skill set and tons of upside.
Newman transferred to Georgia after spending his first years at Wake Forest, but he opted out in 2020. He has an excellent collection of traits that translate to the next level such as arm strength, patience in the pocket, and the ability to make throws on the move. Although, like any developmental quarterback, there are some areas that need improvement. Going through progressions, foot work, and field vision are all things Newman will need to work on in order to reach his potential at the next level. Viewed as a Day 2 prospect if he came out in 2020, Newman projects as a Day 3 selection in 2021 after opting out and a bad Senior Bowl performance.
Still, the Buccaneers could be intrigued with his upside enough to take him in the fourth or fifth round.
4. QB Ian Book, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Projected Selection: Rounds 5-7
Ian Book has been more than an efficient quarterback over his three years as a starter at Notre Dame.
Book is a polished, accurate thrower who shows strong poise in the pocket and has great field vision. He doesn’t force throws often nor does he turn the ball over. The former Fighting Irishman can extend plays with his legs, as well.
One issue is Book lacks the prototypical size, arm strength, and often counts on his players to win 50/50 balls. Having a big arm is essentially a requirement to play in Arians’ offense. Book does have incredible leadership qualities, however. He also left Notre Dame as the most accomplished and winningest quarterback in school history.
He projects best as a developmental back up in the NFL. Book could potentially challenge Griffin for the third spot on the roster if Gabbert is brought back.
5. QB Feleipe Franks, Arkansas/Florida
Projected Selection: Round 6-UDFA
The former Florida Gator transferred to Arkansas during his final season after losing the starting job to Kyle Trask in 2019.
Feleipe went on to post a career-best completion percentage and the highest yards per attempt mark of his career in his only season with the Razorbacks. He has the size, at 6-foot-5, the arm strength, and a keen sense of awareness in the pocket. Franks also has very good vision and keeps his eyes downfield.
Like most of these later-round prospects, he needs to do a better job going through his progressions, getting the ball out, and improving his accuracy. He does offer some ability as a runner, but mostly projects as a career backup or practice squad candidate.
Who are your best draft fits at quarterback for the Bucs? Let us know in the comment section below!