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Bucs draft needs position analysis: Quarterback

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 03:45 AM

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have six selections in the NFL draft, including the No. 5 overall pick. The draft, to be held April 26-28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, features seven rounds and 253 total picks. The Bucs have one pick in each round, except Round 4. For eight straight days, The Tampa Tribune will analyze the Bucs' needs at each of eight positions.

Today, we look at quarterback.

Josh Freeman appeared to take a step backward in his development last season, throwing 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. But the Bucs believe he has the skill set and intangibles necessary to become a franchise quarterback. Tampa Bay upgraded this offseason at the backup spot, signing pocket passer Kyle Orlovsky to replace Josh Johnson. Comfortable carrying just two quarterbacks on the active roster, the Bucs aren't likely to spend a draft pick on this position.

On the Bucs roster

Player; Ht.; Wt.; Age; Seasons

Josh Freeman; 6-6; 248; 23; 4

QB; Dan Orlovsky; 6-5; 230; 28; 7

QB; Brett Ratliff; 6-4; 224; 26; 3

Dream pick

Andrew Luck, Stanford

One reason the Indianapolis Colts let Peyton Manning go was they knew they would have a shot at Luck, considered to be almost as cerebral a quarterback as Manning. Some believe Robert Griffin III of Baylor will be the more dynamic player, but Luck is a consensus top-shelf talent.

Hidden gem

Nick Foles, Arizona

Foles has NFL-caliber arm strength, pocket presence and accuracy, but he needs some polish. A team willing to invest some time in developing Foles could eventually reap a great reward.

Remaining NFL free agents

Player; Ht.; Wt.; Age; Seasons

Donovan McNabb; 6-4; 230; 35; 13

Dennis Dixon; 6-3; 209; 27; 4

Billy Volek; 6-4; 214; 35; 12

Bucs history

The Bucs have twice used the 17th overall pick to draft a quarterback: Doug Williams in 1978 and Freeman in 2009. Williams led the franchise to its first playoff and Freeman took over as the starter midway through his rookie season. Tampa Bay also spent first-round picks on Vinny Testaverde and Trent Dilfer, who went on to play well for other teams, but did little for the Bucs. The team spent mid- and late-round picks on Shaun King, Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski with mixed results.

The schedule

Thursday: Defensive tackle

Today: Quarterback

Saturday: Defensive back

Sunday: Running back

Monday: Offensive line

Tuesday: Receiver/Tight end

Wednesday: Defensive end

Thursday: Linebacker

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