The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have signed veteran quarterback Josh McCown to a two-year deal, but that won’t stop this organization from using a first-round pick on Teddy Bridgewater.
With the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, there are several scenarios that could play out for the Buccaneers. With the recent trade of Mike Williams, the depth at wide receiver is extremely depleted for Tampa Bay and there are some very talented wideouts in this draft class. Several positions on defense also require more talent and depth, as the defense only registered 35 sacks in 2013. Bridgewater visiting the Buccaneers, however, might give fans a new indication on who will be the first rookie drafted by Tampa Bay.
One of the best aspects about Bridgewater is his ability to learn and improve, and that is exactly the type of player Lovie Smith wants to lead his team. Bridgewater had a great season in 2012 with 3,718 passing yards, 27 touchdown passes, eight interceptions and a quarterback rating of 160.5, but he improved on every single one of those statistics in 2013 with 3,970 passing yards, 31 touchdowns passes, four interceptions and a quarterback rating of 171.1.
McCown is obviously going to be the signal-caller for Tampa Bay when the season starts, but the 34-year-old quarterback is not the future of this team. He is an interim starter who will keep the team competitive until a feature quarterback is ready. Rookie Mike Glennon performed admirably when called upon to be the Buccaneers’ starter, but he is not considered a legitimate option to lead the team. Bridgewater could be that option.
Even though his stock has dropped slightly because of his less than impressive performance on his pro day, Bridgewater is still one of the most complete quarterbacks in this year’s draft. Potentially four teams could draft a quarterback before the Buccaneers do, so it could be difficult to land this young talent.
If Bridgewater did find himself slipping to the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay would give him one of the best opportunities to have a successful career. He would find himself with a pass-catching running back in Doug Martin, a talented wide receiver in Vincent Jackson and several new players from the draft who should help to instantly improve this organization. The young quarterback would also not be forced into any action right away, and he would be able to learn and grow from the guidance of his head coach and the veteran McCown.
With the desire to learn and develop, an outstanding head coach and several players to develop a rapport with, Bridgewater would have a chance to lead the Buccaneers into a bright future. Drafting a quarterback in the first round is obviously a huge risk, but Bridgewater is too talented for the Buccaneers to let him slip through their fingers.