Starting our position group-by-group look at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, we’re going to dive into the quarterbacks attending this year and speculate about who the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may target in the upcoming draft.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is likely to seek out a starting job elsewhere or retire. Ryan Griffin, well, who knows what will happen to him. All we know is the coaching staff who kept him around longer than any third quarterback I ever remember is gone. So, he might be gone for good too.
If you follow the team closely, then you know only two quarterbacks currently sit on the 2019 roster for the Bucs. Of course, one is Jameis Winston, and the other is Joe Callahan. Unless you think Callahan is a bona fide back-up, what with his one career NFL appearance and 74.1 quarterback rating off of a five-for-seven, eleven-yard performance, I think there’s at least some validity to the idea Tampa Bay may fly a draft pick out there to find another quarterback this off-season.
So, who are the competitors meeting up in Indianapolis on February 26th?
In no particular order other than alphabetical by last name, they are:
2019 COMBINE QUARTERBACKS
|RYAN FINLEY||NC STATE|
|NICK FITZGERALD||MISSISSIPPI STATE|
|WILL GRIER||WEST VIRGINIA|
|DWAYNE HASKINS||OHIO STATE|
|TRACE MCSORLEY||PENN STATE|
|GARDNER MINSHEW||WASHINGTON STATE|
|BRETT RYPIEN||BOISE STATE|
|EASTON STICK||NORTH DAKOTA STATE|
BEST IN CLASS: DREW LOCK, MISSOURI
Alright, now we get into the fun and subjective part of the discussion. I’ve seen Kyler Murray mocked as high as fourth to the Oakland Raiders, and I’ve seen Dwayne Haskins in front of both Murray and Lock.
To me, Lock is at the top of this year’s quarterback class. I’d say Murray is the most intriguing, but it’s really hard for me to say where his ceiling is.
With this Missouri quarterback, I feel like a team will be more comfortable knowing what it is they’re getting. Sort of a - less risk it, but still some good biscuit - type of situation.
MOST TO PROVE: KYLER MURRAY, OKLAHOMA
I mean, obviously, right? Murray has done some amazing things on the college football field. But so did Vince Young.
Like VY, mentality is a huge part of whether or not Murray is going to be successful in the NFL….or MLB...or somewhere.
Even with this compelling tweet, there’s going to be concerns Murray will still try to keep a toe in both pools. And it’ll be no surprise there are some who might be nervous about drafting the Sooners quarterback.
If he doesn’t start, or doesn’t have a good first year or two, he could easily bolt for baseball and know he’ll get a shot.
Would the Raiders draft him fourth overall? I wouldn’t be surprised. But if it’s going to happen it’s going to be in part because Murray blows away the combine crowd. Mostly in interviews.
MOST LIKELY BUCS DRAFT PICK: RYAN FINLEY, NC STATE
Outside of Lock, Haskins and Murray there’s not much expectation for any of the other quarterbacks to become starters in the NFL.
Although some of them likely will start, none will likely become franchise leaders for years to come. Never say never though, right?
Still, we’re coming into this looking for a guy with back-up qualities. A quarterback who has enough athletic ability to move in the pocket behind an offensive line unfamiliar with his timing and on-field style. A quarterback who doesn’t take huge risks, but has arm talent enough to push the ball when needed. Overall, you want a guy who is smart and can come in to manage a game more than try to win it on his own.
That’s a back-up rookie quarterback. And that’s Ryan Finley from NC State.
He’s older, and you’re hoping if the Bucs have to put him in for any period of time that his age and experience will override his panic.
If Finley steps on the field he’s going to need his coaches to call plays he can execute without much thought necessary and without relying on him as a playmaker. Sounds scary? Well, playing with your back-up quarterback often times is.
Interviews will be big for Finley in Indianapolis, and if he proves to be calm under pressure, he’s going to land on someone’s list as their QB2 of the future.