According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “there’s a real sense” that the Buccaneers have their sights set on Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.
However, Schefter adds that there are “many NFL executives and scouts” who believe Florida State QB Jameis Winston is the best pro quarterback prospect in this draft.
The Buccaneers have the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft, so they will have their pick of the top two quarterback prospects.
In recent weeks, there appears to be more and more concerns regarding Mariota’s ability to step in and immediately have success in the NFL.
ESPN’s draft analyst Mel Kiper said as much in a recent conference call with the national media.
“He’s a runner,” Kiper said, per Pat Yasinskas. “You’ve got to take that running aspect out and just call it mobility. He’s got the arm, the size, the work ethic, the intelligence – all the things you need to fit into pretty much any offense down the road. But if you want to force-feed him, he’s not going to be ready.”
Tampa Bay brought in a new offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter and, according to HC Lovie Smith, they plan to build their offense around their personnel next season.
“I think you can go back to everybody’s history and see some things that they like to do,” Smith said, via ESPN.com. “Looking at Dirk, in Jacksonville, they had Maurice Jones-Drew and they were a running attack. And of course with the receivers, Matt Ryan and that crew, Devin Hester and those guys, they passed it more in Atlanta. That’s what we’re looking for. We feel like he can bring balance, and in order for us to win that’s what we need.”
A number of draft analysts have Winston ahead of Mariota in their rankings right now, but there is obviously a lot of time for things to change. It will be interesting to see if Mariota participates in this year’s Scouting Combine.
We’ll have more updates regarding the Buccaneers and who they could target at No. 1 overall as the news is available.