If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to find a way to compete with the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, then quarterback Johnny Manziel needs to be selected with the seventh pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Massive distractions and injuries plagued the 2013 season of the Buccaneers. The leadership and work ethic of starting quarterback Josh Freeman was questioned, and to make matters worse, head coach Greg Schiano completely lost control over his players as the team regressed to a four-win season. When your team has to face Drew Brees and Cam Newton twice a year, all of your attention needs to be on the field.
With all the chaos surrounding the organization, rookie Mike Glennon performed admirably when he was shoved into the starting role. With 2,608 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions, you couldn’t ask much more of the 24-year-old quarterback. With few weapons other than Vincent Jackson to get the ball to, it is pretty remarkable that Glennon was able to throw almost 20 touchdown passes. With the return of dual-threat back Doug Martin and some additions in the draft, any quarterback taking the helm for Tampa Bay in 2014 should find himself in a better position than how Schiano left the team.
With the signing of veteran quarterback Josh McCown and the future looking bright for Glennon, it may not seem to make much sense to draft Johnny Football. The Buccaneers, however, would begin the start of dynasty with Manziel running the show.
The new GM for the Miami Dolphins, Dennis Hickey, was formerly a key guy in the Buccaneers’ front office, and he was very high on Glennon. The Buccaneers may not be able to get the second-round pick they want for Glennon, but if a deal was reached with Hickey, the Dolphins have the 18th pick in the second round and the 17th pick in the third round. With potential to have a pick near the beginning and end of the second or third round, Tampa Bay can stockpile future stars.
There isn’t an immediate need for Manziel to start right away in Tampa, and McCown would give the 21-year-old quarterback the time he needs to work on his mechanics and get the playbook down. When it is time for McCown to step aside, Manziel will be primed to bring in a new era of Buccaneers football. A two-year window before Manziel starts would allow the Buccaneers to find protection for the quarterback, draft new weapons at tight end and receiver and give the team time to execute head coach Lovie Smith‘s vision.
Manziel is the biggest offensive playmaker at his position, and Smith could do wonders developing him into a franchise quarterback. Without a desperate need for a quarterback, the Buccaneers have to take the most explosive signal-caller in the draft. Glennon is perfect trade bait for several organizations, and finding a new team for Glennon, acquiring even more draft picks and selecting Manziel would make Tampa Bay the undisputed winners of the this year’s draft.
If Tampa Bay can pull this off correctly, the team will start its domination of the NFC South very soon.