“With the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selects….”
Everyone expects that sentence to end with “Jameis Winston, quarterback, Florida State.” There have been some rumors—because it’s April or as many like to call it “NFL Smokescreen and Lie Season”—that they could be going in a different direction.
The team has done tons of research on Winston—MMQB.com’s Peter King said Tampa Bay’s GM Jason Licht pegged it as possibly 30 hours of one-on-one time with the team—and given their location, they are probably the team in the best of position to really determine whether Winston’s off-field issues are more smoke or more fire.
Let’s say for a moment they pass though, or decide at least he’s not their guy. What other players should the Buccaneers—a team with some very specific needs but also plenty of talent—target?
The assumption here in this article is that they don’t trade out of the first pick, which makes the selection tougher. You don’t normally see many defensive ends drafted first (only 14 defensive linemen picked in the history of the draft in total), offensive linemen are even rarer (7 times overall with four tackles and no guards ever selected) and linebackers have only been selected three times with the first overall pick.
Of course, past is not always prelude to future, but it gives you an idea of how teams think and the likelihood of a pick at a particular position. Things change though, as evidenced by the running back position, which has been featured with first overall picks 23 times, but none since Ki-Jana Carter by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1995.
So you never know.
Let’s take a look at directions they should go If they bail on the pick we all assume they make.
Next: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon