The first 2014 NFL mock draft from Mel Kiper's hand is out, and it has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers making a controversial decision. According to Kiper's mock draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pass on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to take a pass-rusher in Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack.
The Bucs are another team that must create more pressure to take advantage of the fact that they have a good defensive core in place to stop the run and make plays in the secondary. Mack gives Tampa a three-down linebacker who can rush the quarterback and drop and make plays in space. He could be plugged in across the formation from Lavonte David and won't need to come off the field. This could be a really good defense in 2014 for Lovie Smith.
Interestingly, both Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles went ahead of Teddy Bridgewater in this mock draft, with five quarterback-needy teams passing on the Louisville signal caller. Bridgewater was widely seen as the top quarterback in this draft, and in online draft circles still is seen as the top passer. Whether NFL teams see it that way is another question entirely, however.
I like Mack, but to me this decision would be baffling. Mike Glennon isn't the worst quarterback in the world, but Bridgewater is an outstanding prospect who does everything well, though perhaps nothing in an outstanding fashion. He's the best pure passer in this draft and has shown many (or perhaps all) the traits you want out of a pocket passer. The only real question would be regarding his frame, which is sub-optimal, but that should fill out once he gets to an NFL weight room.
Two other mock drafts from Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks have the Bucs taking Khalil Mack and Jake Matthews, respectively, but Teddy Bridgewater wasn't available in either mock.
We're still early in the process and much can change between now and May, but how would you feel about the Bucs passing on Teddy Bridgewater?
Video courtesy of Draft Breakdown