Should the Buccaneers Draft a QB in the Later Rounds?


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem set for the foreseeable future at quarterback. The re-signing of Baker Mayfield, after his strong performance, will bring continuity to the position for the next three season. But, as always, teams are always looking for possible quarterbacks to groom and potentially take over as others depart. So with the hiring of Liam Coen as offensive coordinator could the Buccaneers take a flyer on his previous quarterback from Kentucky?

The Connection

Coen has bounced around a few times over the past few years but found himself the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach twice at Kentucky. Once in 2021 and again in 2023. During that time he called plays and coached Will Levis to the tune of 2,826 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only 13 interceptions. This gave him a passer efficiency rating of 148.3. Not bad, especially when you consider he connected on 66% of his throws. Levis would then find himself selected 33rd overall to the Tennessee Titans (2023) where he’ll start again this season.

On Coen’s second stint in Kentucky he coached Devin Leary. Now Leary has not gotten the same attention as Levis but he does have some talent. Last season he threw for 2,440 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. This equated to a passer rating of 132.3 and a completion percentage of 56.3.

Now those numbers don’t jump out very much. In fact taken by themselves they even detract from Leary’s performance. But this was a team with little in the way of weapons with Leary’s first time in a new offense. Now compare that to his 2021 performance at North Carolina State where he went 283 of 431 (65.7% completion) 3,433 yards, and 35 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. His rating was 157 for the season. In 2022 he was looking to be on pace to be close to those numbers until he had an injury forcing him out for the remainder of the season. So there is talent there.


Entering this draft Leary stands at six foot one and 215 pounds and tough as nails. He’s creative, makes good decisions, and is calm in the pocket. His short and intermediate game are great but his deep ball needs work. Part of the issue is he doesn’t have elite arm strength to push the ball down the field. On the other hand his other throws exhibit his efficiency, quick release, and touch. He’s not a day one or two player. He’ll likely go in the latter half of the third day. Especially since he’s projected to be a backup at the next level.

With that scouting report I am of the mindset that with good coaches, a support system, and familiarity can jump start players careers. So, for him, the best situation would be to be drafted to his previous offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who is now with the Buccaneers.

Corresponding Move

After being selected in the second round of the 2021 draft, Kyle Trask has yet to see the field in a meaningful way. Also given the initial signing of Baker Mayfield and now his resigning it’s safe to say Trask is not the future at the quarterback position. So what the team should do now is use him to acquire a 6th or 7th round pick and replace him with Leary, maybe. Kyle Trask signed a 4 year rookie deal commensurate with his draft position.

With the $5.5 million dollar he now sits in his final season and is owed $1.3 million dollars. Of which $346 thousand is in dead money. They could keep Trask and have a competiton between the two. If he is to be traded a big question that will come up is his value. Yes he was drafted in the second round but when you look at the recent moves he clearly doesn’t carry that value. Mac Jones for example is moving on to Jacksonville for only a 6th rounder. So it’s safe to say he may not be trade worthy.

Final Though

The Buccaneers can take Leary in the last few rounds of the draft with his former coach there to soften his landing in the NFL. He’d be developmental but his former coach should be running an offense that has some familiarity that he could grow into. Maybe the situation would be great for his growth and the teams future. Maybe he could sit behind Baker, grow, and learn improving each season. It’s a low risk high reward signing.

For more on the Buccaneers from Jeremy click here, then make sure to follow him on Twitter.

Follow, Like and Subscribe to Bucs Report

For more on this and everything Bucs check back here hourly at