The Buccaneers may not select a quarterback in the first round of next month’s NFL Draft, but they certainly are doing their homework just in case.
The Buccaneers hosted Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr on Wednesday, and that comes on the heels of a steady stream of quarterbacks who have already walked the halls at One Buccaneer over the last two weeks.
Carr joins Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garappolo, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater as top quarterback prospects who have met with general manager Jason Licht, along with head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff. The Buccaneers were also in attendance at UCF’s Blake Bortles pro day in Orlando recently, although there have been no reports of any official visits.
Tampa Bay signed Bears free agent quarterback Josh McCown to a two-year, $10 million contract during the first week of free agency and last month Lovie Smith promptly named him the team’s starter.
On Tuesday, speaking to the local media at One Buc Place, McCown understands that Tampa Bay could take a quarterback – and take one early.
“If you’re picking somebody in the first round, you’re hoping they can help your team at some point, (but) my focus won’t shift,” McCown said. “My focus is, whether it’s me or Mike Glennon or Mike Kafka or somebody else, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks to play good football and to help their team win football games. That wouldn’t change.”
The 34-year old McCown who threw 13 touchdowns and only one interception with the Bears last season said on Tuesday if that happens he will help the young signal caller get ready to play at whatever point that may be.
“If we pick a young guy at that spot, let’s help him get ready, too,” McCown said. “Because we’re picking him there because we think he can helps us win games if you’re picking somebody that early. Absolutely, it’s about helping us win football games.”
New Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford coached Carr’s brother David at Fresno State, and has known the younger Carr and his family for over 15 years. Tedford also worked privately with Derek Carr prior to becoming the Buccaneers offensive coordinator.
In a Tampa Bay Times article back in January, Derek Carr and his father both spoke about the close relationship the two families share.
“We’re pretty much family,” Derek Carr told the Times. “We’re close to each other.”
“Jeff had him out there, doing the footwork drills, dropping back, throwing at targets, dropping balls in trash cans,” Rodger Carr, Derek’s father said. “Jeff’s been a part of the family for a long time.”
While most mocks aren’t forecasting Carr to go at the No. 7 position, some including NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Carr compares favorably to Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill who was selected eighth overall by Miami two years ago.
Some reports have said the Cleveland Browns had Carr ranked highly, and could target him with the second of the first-round picks (No. 26) next month. If Carr slips past some of the quarterback hungry teams early in the first the Buccaneers could be tempted to move back up into the first round. Another possibility is Tampa Bay trading down in the first round and adding draft picks, while still getting potentially the player they were targeting all along.
Regardless of how it pans out, Carr is confident in his ability as evidenced by an interview he did with NFL Network on Tuesday when he was asked if he felt he was the best quarterback prospect in this year’s draft class.
“Absolutely,” Carr said. “And I say that with respect to all the other guys because they’re great competitors and all those good things. And it’s not easy for me to answer a question like that but I absolutely think so.
“There’s no doubt in my mind. We can turn the film on, sit down and watch it and we’ll talk about it and I’ll convince you.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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