At a time when the Buccaneers have created the perception that they are wrestling with the question of whether to select quarterback Jameis Winston or quarterback Marcus Mariota, there’s another option: Neither.
Per a league source, the Buccaneers brought in linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. for a visit on Thursday.
Currently, the thinking is that Fowler is likely to land in Jacksonville with the third overall pick. The Buccaneers could, if they want Fowler, flip-flop with the Titans, if the Titans would be inclined to take Jameis Winston.
Or perhaps Tampa’s due diligence is now spreading from Mariota to other top-10 prospects in advance of a possible trade farther down the board. While not widely discussed since the Bucs earned the No. 1 pick, coach Lovie Smith and/or G.M. Jason Licht could be intrigued by the haul of selections that could be secured by trading out of the top spot.
Ownership could intervene, pushing for a franchise quarterback. But if one of the members of ownership are concerned about Winston from an off-field perspective, it could be easier for the folks in football operations to engineer a slide down.
That said, Bucs G.M. Jason Licht really likes Fowler, we’re told. The broader question is whether Fowler or someone else obtained via trading down would be the alternative to Winston, if they decide not to pick the player many have assumed for weeks that they will.