The Buccaneers have eight selections in the NFL draft, including the No. 13 overall pick. The draft, to be held April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, features seven rounds and 254 total picks, including a handful of compensatory picks. The Bucs have two choices in the fourth and sixth rounds, but do not have a seventh-round selection. For eight consecutive days, the Tampa Tribune will analyze the team's needs at each of eight positions. Today, we look at quarterback.
Quarterback The Buccaneers say they are seeking to upgrade the competition behind fifth-year pro Josh Freeman, yet Dan Orlovsky remains the backup heading into the 2013 draft. Tampa Bay is expected to choose a quarterback in the middle or late rounds to develop behind Freeman. The group at the top represents one of the weakest quarterback classes in recent memory. According to some scouts, there isn't a quarterback worth drafting in the opening round, but there are some intriguing prospects that might still be available in the later rounds. Freeman, 25, enters a contract season with much to prove after throwing nine of his 17 interceptions in the final three weeks. Unless Freeman is more efficient, the Bucs could decide to let him test free agency in 2014.
On the Bucs roster Player; Ht.; Wt.; Age; NFL seasons
If Nassib is nurtured along, he has the potential to be a solid quarterback at the NFL level. He is poised and confident and his decision-making improved throughout his time at Syracuse, where he set school records for career completions and passing yards. Nassib could be drafted early by the Bills and new head coach Doug Marrone, who coached Nassib in college. In his final three years with the Orangemen, Nassib threw 67 touchdowns and 27 interceptions, adding two scoring passes in a Pinstripe Bowl victory against West Virginia.
Hidden Gem Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Although he lacks ideal size at 6-foot-2, Wilson has some of the intangibles Bucs coach Greg Schiano is looking for under center. He has been compared to a young Tony Romo in terms of his confidence and willingness to take shots downfield. Wilson also boasts above-average footwork and a quick release that should help him minimize sacks at the pro level. Best of all, he is a student of the game who reads defenses well.
Bucs history Until selecting Freeman with the 17th overall choice in 2009, the Bucs generally refrained from drafting a quarterback early. The only other first-round picks at quarterback were Trent Dilfer (1994), Vinny Testaverde (1987) and Doug Williams (1978). With Freeman entering the final year of his rookie deal, it would not be surprising to see Tampa Bay draft a quarterback in the middle rounds who can learn the system in 2013 and be groomed as an eventual starter.