Kiper: Glennon's future hinges on coach, GM's
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. held a teleconference with media members on Thursday, and was asked what Bucs rookie Mike Glennon has to do in the second half of this season to make a case that Tampa Bay shouldn't use its (likely high) first-round pick on a quarterback.
"I don't care where (Glennon) went, he wasn't a first-round pick, but certainly his size and his arm and his smarts and his want-to, they know," Kiper said. "The big thing is going to be with the GM and the coach that brought him in, do they remain in that position? Obviously you get a new GM and a new coach, but if your GM and your coach remain in those spots, they seem to really like Mike Glennon. They're saying everything about him to indicate that they feel like they have their quarterback. We'll see. You have a lot of games to go, a lot of evaluation games to go. He's a rookie, is going to have some good moments and some bad ones. They've had some major injuries at the running back position that have impacted them, with (Doug) Martin and (Mike) James getting hurt."
Glennon will likely enter 2014 with 13 starts, so even if a quarterback is taken with a high pick, he'd be competing for a starting job, though passers taken in the first round come in with the expectation of being the long-term starter. Having coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik back would help Glennon because they have more familiarity with him and personal investment than a new leadership would.
Despite not playing in the first three games, Glennon leads all rookie QBs with nine touchdown passes -- one short of the Bucs' team record for a rookie -- but the Bucs could be in position to take someone from what is generally seen as a strong, deep rookie class that Kiper said could have as many as six QBs in the first round.
Kiper has Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Oregon's Marcus Mariota as his top two, followed by Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel ("certainly, that's three" in the first round, he said). After that, he likes another underclassman in UCLA's Brett Hundley, but said Hundley may benefit from returning for his redshirt junior year with the Bruins, potentially moving into the top 10 overall for 2015. He mentioned Fresno State's Derek Carr and LSU's Zach Mettenberger as his next options "in that discussion."
Where are the Bucs mostly likely to pick? Tampa Bay is one of five teams with less than three wins, tied for Jacksonville for the league's worst record. But Minnesota (2-7) has a much tougher remaining schedule, with its seven remaining opponents combining for a 40-26 record, all with at least four wins; the Bucs' remaining seven are a combined 34-31, second-toughest within those five teams, suggesting wins will be tougher to come by at least based on the other sideline.
The Bucs face another bottom-five team Sunday in Atlanta (2-7), and Jacksonville (1-8) plays Houston (2-7) twice in the next month, so those teams will have wins to shake up the top five in the draft. The Jaguars' opponents are a combined 26-38, facing lesser competition than the others in contention for the top pick. Tampa Bay would have to win at least two more games to fall out of the top five in the draft.