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Should the Bucccaneers even draft a quarterback?

Another disappointing season has come to a close for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and many fans are, and have been (since midseason), looking ahead to the 2015 NFL Draft. A big argument among fans is whether the Bucs should reach for a "franchise QB"--either Mariota or Winston, both of whom have been (and will continue to be) heavily critiqued--or move back and take an offensive lineman.

The Buccaneers consistently lost the battle in the trenches in the 2014-2015 season.
The Buccaneers consistently lost the battle in the trenches in the 2014-2015 season.
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

With so many holes on the roster and the Buccaneers ending with the No. 1 overall pick, Lovie and Licht will have their pick of the litter when it comes to top talent in the upcoming class. A large population of Buccaneer fans are pulling for team brass to select what they consider to be a "franchise QB" in the form of either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston...but success begins in the trenches and Bucs' offensive line has regularly looked terrible and been bested by the opposition.

There is realistic expectation that the Buccaneers will, again, attempt to patch some of the holes on the offensive line via the 2015 free agency class which, according to some, may be one of the best ever. Of course, that's discounting that many of these players will be resigned to their teams before reaching the market, but there should be some very good, young talent available; however, the market for offensive linemen isn't exactly dazzling, with Mike Iupati likely being the best of the crowd. For whatever reasons, a large percentage of the fanbase continues to devalue the offensive line as they claim that a "good" QB will make the line look much better with just minor upgrades. Then there is the crowd that is hoping that the Buccaneers can find a trade partner to move back, acquire additional picks and draft a top offensive lineman, with the popular choice being Iowa's Brandon Scherff.

After studying YouTube highlight videos and spending time reading scouting reports on the top linemen of the upcoming draft, it's unclear as to whether there is a single elite prospect among them and, to be clear, when the term elite is used, it references a player who scouts believe will smoothly transition to the NFL and become an elite player at the pro level (because that's truly all that matters). Scherff, looks to be an insanely strong tackle with a mean streak that the Buccaneers could surely use on their line but reports are that he struggles with speed rushers and may not have the lateral agility to play LT effectively at the next level, which could force a move to either RT or one of the guard positions. Andrus Peat is said to be a technician at the LT spot but doesn't play with aggressiveness that scouts and talent evaluators wanted to see from him. In short, there aren't predicted to be any Joe Thomas-type linemen in this upcoming draft; however, there are some that who would greatly improve the Buccaneers horrendous unit if they were acquired, including the two aforementioned prospects.

Those who desperately want the Buccaneers to draft either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston continuously state that the Buccaneers can fix the offensive line via free agency and the rest of the draft. There is no doubt that those are options, but if the past is to be used as any indication of the future, they may be options that the Buccaneers want to avoid. The failings of Anthony Collins and, to a lesser extent, Carl Nicks, should rightfully scare the Glazers; however, it shouldn't scare them to the point of not making a legit effort to acquire the services of a player like Mike Iupati if the front office deems him worthy of the money that he will command. Regardless of what offensive linemen are acquired and how they are acquired, their success will be largely dependent on the man coaching the unit, and George Warhop hasn't inspired confidence in his abilities to do so, and that must change if the Buccaneers hope to compete next year.