Why the Bucs will not be drafting a quarterback this year
Quite a few mock drafts have the Bucs selecting a running back at their 20th selection point and the NFL Network even went along with the same thought during a recent "State of the franchise" piece. Why would you do that with the arrival of Warrick Dunn, re-signing of Michael Bennett, return of Carnell Williams, and existence of Earnest Graham?

Similarly, some mocks have the Bucs going after a quarterback in the first round, if not Matt Ryan (who will not last past Kansas City at No.5), then a Joe Flacco from Delaware or Brian Brohm from Louisville. And all these sites have a reason along the lines of "QB for the future", "best available athlete" or "Jon Gruden loves young passers".

For all those people, here is another thought - "Hogwash".

The Bucs finished the 2007 season with a great triumverate of Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown and Bruce Gradkowski. All have starting experience in the NFL and at the least the first two have actually a chance of starting again.

The Bucs of course also have Chris Simms on their roster and then also traded for Brian Griese. Which makes five not even including Jake Plummer in Denver.

So please tell me why they would add yet another passer to this stable of throwers? This is not the major leagues where you can never have enough pitching. This is the NFL where teams keep three QBs and sometimes one rookie (of which none of the above are) on the developmental roster.

Jeff Garcia is the starter. Yes he is 38 years old but we are looking at 2008 right now and that means No.7 behind center. If Jon Gruden was totally sold on Luke McCown, he would not have traded for Brian Griese in March, but you can see a situation where these two are No.2 and No.3 on the depth chart.

Chris Simms is plainly the odd man out and will be somewhere else in the NFL come September. A team could of course wait until then to sign him, but would then be pretty much unable to use him for the season because of learning their offense. But if they trade for him now (and the expected asking price is a 3rd or 4th rounder), then they get a strong-armed lefty for next season.

Even Jon Gruden has pretty much given up on Jake Plummer coming back so he can simply pay back the rest of his signing bonus (hey Jake, don't sign the contract and take the money if you are going to do a runner before it's over). And Bruce Gradkowski? That's the Arena League on Line 2 for you.

So with desperate needs for rookie talent at cornerback and wide receiver, why would the Bucs spend their top pick on another passer?

Paul Stewart, 4 April 2008