The Buccaneers will definitely be taking a quarterback; that much is obvious. We reported several months ago that Tampa was more than willing to move up for a signal-caller, but that's not necessary now that the Buccaneers own the top selection. Thus, all speculation of them moving down is pretty pointless.
Winston only helped himself in Indianapolis. In addition to throwing some terrific passes in the field drills, he also impressed in the interviews, prompting one personnel man to compare his football IQ to Peyton Manning's. Winston is a lock to go No. 1 at this point, and I'm not buying the smokescreen that Marcus Mariota will be chosen first overall.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
The Buccaneers need help at left tackle, as Anthony Collins is gone after just one awful season. Teams usually grab an offensive weapon or a blocker after choosing a franchise quarterback, so that's what Tampa is doing here.
Rd. 3, Pk. 1
Arie Kouandjio, G, Alabama
The Buccaneers spent their second-round pick on an offensive tackle in this mock draft, but they also need help at the guard position.
Winston is a better on-the-field prospect than Marcus Mariota, and over time, that could push teams to overlook the character discrepancy. Even with the off-the-field concerns, I have Winston ranked first on my big board and did so dating back to the preseason. I've had him as the No. 1 overall pick since early October 2014. He is a rare athlete who has natural poise as a pocket passer. His phenomenal field vision, anticipation and decision-making are extremely impressive for a college quarterback. He is a rare talent. The biggest issue for Winston is off-the-field problems.
One scouting director told us those off-the-field problems "are real and more than advertised." Winston's suspension while Florida State faced off against Clemson almost, and should have, cost his team a win. In speaking with sources, some NFL teams have real doubts about Winston and think he could have Jamarcus Russell-level off-the-field problems. Other sources feel that Winston's off-the-field issues are immaturity that he'll grow out of and they've been overblown. They say that Winston is a leader in the locker room, a good teammate and does everything asked of him by the football and baseball coaches. One general manager told WalterFootball.com that Winston is the real deal, so some team is going to look past the off-the-field issues and take him early in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Winson completed 65 percent of his passes in 2014 for 3,907 yards with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He was a sparkling 26-1 as a starting quarterback. Winston took college football by storm in 2013 as the Heisman Trophy winner. The redshirt freshman demonstrated a quality arm with well-developed passing ability. The 6-foot-4, 231-pounder completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,057 yards with 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. On the ground, he ran for 219 yards with four touchdowns.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
With their first second-day pick, the Bucs should take the best offensive lineman available regardless of whether he is for the interior or the edge. Tampa Bay must improve its line for Jameis Winston.
Clemmings (6-4, 307) played well for Pittsburgh in 2014. He's a good athlete who can be a force as a run-blocker. Clemmings needs to improve his technique in pass protection as he can be slow to react to speed rushers. At the Senior Bowl, Clemmings struggled in the pass-blocking one-on-ones. Sources from multiple teams have said they're grading Clemmings in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but think a team will take him in the second round. Another team said they graded him on Day 2, while an NFC team said they had a fourth-round grade on him.
The need for Clemmings to develop is understandable as 2014 was only his second season playing on the offensive line. He was a defensive end to start out his collegiate career and moved to right tackle as a junior. He started 13 games at right tackle in 2013.
Rd. 3, Pk. 1
Nate Orchard, DE/OLB, Utah
In the 2011 NFL Draft, the previous Bucs regime blew draft picks on Adrian Clayborn and DaQuan Bowers instead of taking Cam Jordan and Justin Houston. To compound the mistake, Michael Bennett was allowed to leave in free agency. The new regime chipped in mistake of its own with Michael Johnson. Clearly, the Buccaneers need help at defensive end and a pass-rusher.
Orchard enjoyed a breakout season in 2014. He totaled 17.5 sacks with 84 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and two passes batted. The 6-foot-3, 251-pounder is a fast and athletic defensive end. He has a nice repertoire of pass-rushing moves and is very intelligent. It would help Orchard to add 10-15 pounds for the NFL if he can maintain his speed. Orchard is a bit of a sleeper prospect to watch, and he could rise in the months to come.
Rd. 4, Pk. 10
Jarvis Harrison, G, Texas A&M
The Bucs continue to improve the talent of their offensive line.
The 6-foot-4, 330-pound Harrison is a reliable pass-blocker who can be effective in the ground game. He had his best season as a junior while playing banged up. Harrison is a second-day talent, but he is expected to slide in the 2015 NFL Draft over off-the-field concerns.
If its me picking, I'm taking Mariota. Its isn't and Winston is the guy I see Lovie wanting. Seems that Winston killed the team interviews at the combine. Came out and demonstrated that he has a NFL arm and accuracy. While he might not be the athlete Mariota is, he does have the pro system down. He has apparently a really high NFL IQ and impressed a lot of NFL personal. We all know he has some red flags but those have seemed to be put to bed. A Hessian winner, National Championship and a 1 lose record in college, this kid can play.
The Bucs have a great group of talent on offense and defense, they are just missing a franchise QB. Mariota is the cleanest QB prospect coming out and with big receivers like Evans and Jackson, this Bucs team could be very exciting. Mariota has elite speed for a QB and doesn't take the hits that a RGIII takes. He's a Kaepernick-like player with a Russell Wilson-like mind. He will need to work on not fumbling and progressing through the NFL reads at the next level.