Some years, the team with the top overall pick in the draft is so enamored with a franchise quarterback that it never talks much about the possibility of picking anyone else. When the Colts drafted Andrew Luck, for instance, it was obvious for months in advance that that’s what they were planning to do, and the team never said otherwise.
The Bucs aren’t taking quite the same approach this year. Although most people think they’ll take Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, and that if they don’t they’ll go for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota instead, Bucs coach Lovie Smith told NFL Network his team might surprise people.
“I can see why people would assume we’re gonna take a quarterback,” Smith said. “There are two excellent quarterbacks that are available at the top and when you get a chance to draft someone like that, most of the time, people do. But there are other good players in the draft also. I think it’s a deep draft for defensive line. Like last year, there are a lot of great receivers that are coming out. I think, just overall, the amount of athletes coming into each incoming class, it’s pretty deep for players that can make an immediate impact.”
By making those comments publicly, Smith is signaling to other teams that if they’re interested in trading up, they should call Tampa Bay and make an offer. And that’s a smart thing to do: It’s always good to find out what you could get in a trade.
Whether the Bucs would actually pull the trigger on a trade remains to be seen. Passing up on a potential franchise quarterback is a tough decision to justify. But it’s a decision the Bucs will consider, if Smith is to be believed.