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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Todd McShay gives Marcus Mariota to the Buccaneers

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Draft season is starting already, and Todd McShay jumps into the fray.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pick Marcus Mariota with the first overall pick this year, if we can believe basically every mock draft out there. Including Todd McShay's first mock draft for 2015.

Mariota is a dynamic athlete with excellent top-end speed. He is elite at throwing on the run. He has a quick and compact over-the-shoulder release, and he possesses excellent intangibles. The concern I have with him is that while he's good with his anticipation and accuracy when passing from inside the pocket (and he's gotten better at it this season), he isn't great -- and that's the most important quality for QBs transitioning to the NFL level. Is that enough of a risk for the Bucs, a team in serious need of a franchise quarterback, to pass on him? Maybe, or perhaps they would wind up giving Winston a higher grade. But I just can't see either of these guys sliding out of the top 10. This is as shallow of a draft at the QB position as I can remember -- at least in the past several years.

The shallowness of the quarterback position probably means the Bucs cannot wait until later rounds to select their quarterback, as appears to be the plan every year. That strategy is pretty terrible in general anyway because later-round quarterbacks tend to be worse for some strange, unfathomable reason. But it looks like this year, it will really be Mariota, Jameis Winston or bust.

If the Bucs don't like either quarterback or can't be certain they'll be able to draft them, they'll have to turn to free agency to find a quarterback. And that's going to be disastrous, or at least ugly -- that means settling for someone like Kyle Orton -- a competent game manager at best.

For now it looks like the Bucs are going to hold on to the first overall pick, though. And that means Marcus Mariota, and all of the risks and potential rewards associated with him. If the Bucs do decide to go with him, finding an offensive coordinator who can help him succeed would be crucial. Someone like Marc Trestman or Bill Lazor would be particularly intriguing, if they're available.