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Mel Kiper expects Buccaneers to select a QB in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft

Word is's draft expert in Mel Kiper expects the Buccaneers to select a Quarterback in the first round of April's NFL Draft. Trading up for Georgia's Matt Stafford? Uh no... USC's Mark Sanchez falling to us? Not likely. No Kiper expects the Bucs to draft Kansas State QB Josh Freeman. Josh who?

Josh Freeman Scouting Report via SBNation's Mocking the Draft:

Josh Freeman

6'6, 250 pounds | Kansas State | Quarterback

Strengths: Incredible arm strength. Can make just about any deep throw. Puts a nice touch on passes and knows when to take some heat off throws. Great size and can take a hit. Never had the best offensive line protecting him and was pressured frequently. Showed during his junior season that he can be mobile rushing for 14 touchdowns. Cut down on his interceptions ever season but still needs to improve his decision making. Played in a pro-style offense, albeit mostly from the shotgun.

Weaknesses: Not quite ready to be a starting NFL quarterback because of his lack of technique and proper footwork. Rarely steps into his throws. Holds the ball too low when he drops back which nullifies any kind of quick release he would have. Deep accuracy is somewhat questionable. Took the majority of his snaps from the shotgun. Struggles when he has to throw on the move.

Final word: Freeman is an incredibly intriguing prospect. He has a powerful arm and good touch. However, he is very mechanically flawed and will need a patient quarterbacks coach. Threw 34 interceptions in 35 career games, which is troublesome. Still, some team will fall in love with his physical tools. At times his play is reminiscent of Ben Roethlisberger, but he's been too inconsistent to chance a first-round pick on.

Round projection: 2

I'm almost completely inclined to give Mel a pass on this suggestion as he had no idea the Bucs would bring QB Luke McCown back at the salary cap number they did ($7.5 million). The Bucs drafting a QB in this draft at any point scares the mess out of me. First of all, we have Freeman's accurate clone in Josh Johnson. Did you see that number up there? 34 interceptions in 35 games? My goodness he sounds like a Trent Dilfer redux. I realize the accurate Josh on the roster isn't Jags guy, but they should at the very least see what they have in him and McCown before they spend a 1st Round Draft Pick on a questionable QB. Secondly the guy appears to be ultra raw, with a first round draft pick we need a player that can't can immediately contribute. Freeman's not that guy. Coming off a draft in which four of our seven picks contributed nothing we must make the best of our first day picks.

It's way to early to say which direction the Bucs will go in, but at this point the Quarterback position doesnt feel like an area that needs attention come April. At this point we might as well see what we have in McCown and Johnson with a small eye planted firmly on next year's crop of potential QB Draft picks (McCoy, Bradford)... In the end if the Bucs did draft Freeman or somebody else at the QB position, so be it, this Coaching Staff has my faith for the time being..

Check out the video below for a glimpse of Freeman's play style: