2023 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: Do Bucs Sit Tight or Trade Up for Franchise QB? - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
Now Reading
2023 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: Do Bucs Sit Tight or Trade Up for Franchise QB?

2023 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: Do Bucs Sit Tight or Trade Up for Franchise QB?

As the sun rises over the sparkling waters of Greater Tampa Bay on the morning of draft day, Bucs fans yearn for the echo of roars across Raymond James Stadium. The stands flooded with a sea of red and pewter as the crowd erupts into cheers. The air electric with excitement, anticipation and hope for what is about to unfold.

The 2023 NFL Draft is here, and it has football fans itching for autumn’s arrival. A new era in Champa Bay is upon us.

Stop-Gap Quarterback or Future of the Franchise?

The biggest storyline of the Bucs’ offseason was the signing of journeyman quarterback, Baker Mayfield. The former number-one pick has received plenty of criticism in his six NFL seasons.

Mayfield had success in Cleveland when provided with a talented offensive line and skill-position players. He threw for over 3,000 yards in four seasons with the Browns and led them to their first playoff win in 26 years. His less impressive stints with Carolina and Los Angeles have some Bucs fans skeptical of the part-time commercial actor/NFL quarterback.

Whether or not Baker can lead the Bucs to a winning season on a one-year deal is unknown, but something we do know: the Bucs are paper-thin at quarterback.

Leading into the draft, Mayfield and fifth-year QB Kyle Trask are the only signal-callers under contract for the Bucs in 2023.

Trading Up Not Out of the Question

It is very likely the Bucs will target a quarterback at some point early in the draft. Holding nine total picks (three in the first two days), Tampa Bay candidates are to trade up for one of the top five QBs –Bryce Young (Alabama), C.J. Stroud (Ohio St.), Anthony Richardson (Florida), Will Levis (Kentucky) and Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) –– if the right player and opportunity presents itself.

The Bucs second round pick (38th overall) would be reasonable compensation for a team like Philadelphia (10th), New England (14th) or Green Bay (15th) looking to trade down a few spots and take advantage of teams vying for a falling quarterback. With that being said, it seems more likely the Bucs will hold on to their first pick, cross their fingers and hope that one of those signal-callers falls like others in years past.

Devin White Wants Out

If the Bucs decide to make a splash on draft night, they have a bargaining chip that would be attractive for most teams. On April 11, ESPN reported LB Devin White asked the Buccaneers to trade him.

The Bucs picked up the fifth-year option of his rookie deal last season, meaning he would play this year and become an unrestricted free agent in 2024. Bucs general manager, Jason Licht, immediately made clear the team has “no intentions” of trading their All-Pro defensive captain.

Keep in mind almost everything that comes out of a GM’s mouth and into a microphone, between the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft, can be taken with a grain of salt. If the Bucs do make a move up in the first round, White could be Licht’s trade capital.

The All-Pro is reportedly looking for a payday in the $18-20 million per year range, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine.

The Bucs pockets are rather shallow after blowing it all on a ring in 2020 and two more seasons of twilight Tom Brady. The Bucs currently have only $600K in cap space due to over $75 million in dead money –– $35 million from Tom Brady’s contract alone.

Offensive Line Rebuild Should Be Bucs’ No. 1 Priority

No matter who the future quarterback is for Tampa Bay, it is imperative for the Bucs to rebuild their porous offensive line, regardless of who leads the offense.

The Bucs’ 2023 O-line was arguably the worst in football –– and that was before the exit of G Shaq Mason and LT Donovan Smith, leaving C Ryan Jensen and All-Pro RT Tristan Wirfs as the only experienced starters in the bunch.

Potential Prospects Tampa Bay Should Have Their Eyes On


OT Broderick Jones             University of Georgia                       Sophomore (RS)

Jones is a mammoth of a man with big, powerful hands perfect for moving sizeable things like NFL defensive lineman in the run game. He also ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of any offensive lineman at the combine, which has consistently translated to success at the next level.

OT Darnell Wright                University of Tennessee                 Senior

Named to the All-Freshmen team in 2019 and receiving first team All-SEC honors as a senior, Wright is one of the supreme pass-blockers of the 2023 draft class. Wright showed great speed with both his hands and his feet at Tennessee and has the size to play guard if called upon.

IOL O’Cyrus Torrence         University of Florida             Senior

See Also

Named first team All-American and All-SEC as a senior, Torrence was a force in the interior for the Florida Gators and never allowed a sack in his college career. At 6’5”, 330 pounds, with 11¼ inch hands, Torrence is widely considered the best guard in this class.

QB Anthony Richardson     University of Florida             Sophomore (RS)

Richardson will likely be off the board by the Bucs’ pick at 19, but if the quarterback falls beyond the Titans at 11, the Bucs would be strong candidates to make a move for the Gator from Gainesville.

QB Will Levis                        University of Kentucky                    Senior

The same goes for Levis, who could easily be off the board when the Bucs pick. That is unless they trade up for a shiny, new franchise quarterback. Much of how the Bucs handle their pick relies on the decisions of other QB-needy teams like the Tennessee Titans (11th), Houston Texans (2nd, 12th)) or Washington Commanders (16th).

CB Joey Porter Jr.               Penn State University                      Junior (RS)

The namesake of his father, and All-Pro linebacker, Porter Jr. has the genes coveted in a starting NFL corner. He has the length, speed and instincts –– not to mention the tape –– all GMs look for in a press corner. Perhaps the Bucs feature two sons of former NFL stars in their secondary and pair Porter Jr. with Antoine Winfield Jr.

RB Bijan Robinson              University of Texas                          Junior

Robinson is quite possibly the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley and, like Barkley, could end up being a top 10 pick. Teams with high picks usually have bigger needs to fill, however, many view first round running backs as luxury picks. If quarterbacks, offensive linemen and defense are the focus early, Robinson could fall right in the Bucs’ lap –– if the Philadelphia Eagles do not snatch him up at 10.

By Jordan Ogren.

Copyright © 2020 by Guide to Greater Tampabay | Powered by TheRipal

Scroll To Top