The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made up their minds about what they are going to do with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft—but that doesn’t mean they are going to tell us now.
Buccaneers’ general manager Jason Licht said in a press conference on Monday (via NFL Draft Scout’s Jeff Reynolds for CBS Sports) that, “If we had to pick today we’d feel very comfortable making the first pick,” adding that, “Personally, I think it’s probably the biggest draft in the history of the organization.”
Licht isn’t tipping the Buccaneers’ hand with 10 days remaining before the draft. With that being said, most believe they will select former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman wrote on Monday that “[o]ne member of the Buccaneers ownership group is increasingly nervous with the notion” that Winston will be the pick. Meanwhile, a high-ranking person in the front office of a different franchise who is interested in trading up with the Buccaneers claims Tampa Bay has gone from “gung-ho on Winston” to “we’re going to hold our nose and take him.” For what it’s worth, Freeman also acknowledges the information he’s gotten “might all be a smokescreen.”
The Buccaneers are clearly in the market for a quarterback given that Mike Glennon and the unknown Seth Lobato are the only two currently on the roster. If Winston is not the pick, then it would be safe to assume Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is Tampa Bay’s other top option.
Winston has significant off-field red flags that could cloud the Buccaneers’ impression of him despite his 26-1 record as a collegiate starter. Still, Licht is confident that they have unturned every stone possible on Winston and have come away feeling confident that he could be a good use of their pick. Licht said on Monday:
“We’re very confident in the amount of work we’ve done. Maybe 25 years from now I’ll write a book. But we feel very confident in the amount of work we’ve done internally, we’ve had work done externally through third parties, and on and on. There have been no surprises.”
Regardless of whom the Buccaneers have set their sights on, do not expect Licht or any member of the front office to make it known publicly until they are officially on the clock next Thursday night. Though all signs point to Winston being the selection, the potential for surprises remains until his name is announced as the No. 1 overall pick.
Photo: USA Today Sports