Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Would Bucs take another QB? Don't rule it out

Louisville’s Brian Brohm didn’t have a stellar senior season, likely hurting his draft stock. He could go in the second round.

Associated Press (2007)

Louisville’s Brian Brohm didn’t have a stellar senior season, likely hurting his draft stock. He could go in the second round.

TAMPA — There hasn't been a bigger buildup of arms since the Cold War, but Jon Gruden really doesn't care what folks think of his obsession with quarterbacks.

Since arriving in Tampa Bay in 2002, Gruden has had nine players start at least one game under center, and six signal-callers are now on the roster.

Will this silly phase, like the quarterbacks themselves, come to pass?

Not likely. In fact, Gruden would like to experience selecting one in the first round of the NFL draft.

"I keep telling Bruce (Allen, general manager) I'd like to coach a first-rounder (at quarterback) sometime before I'm out of the league," Gruden said. "I wouldn't mind coaching one. Guys do get picked in the first round for a reason."

Six of the 12 teams that reached the playoffs last year had No. 1 picks starting at quarterback most of the season. The past three Super Bowl winning passers — Eli and Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger — were selected in the first round.

The Bucs have bigger needs to address than quarterback. A flash-and-dash receiver to take the load off Joey Galloway. A young corner to groom to replace Ronde Barber. A running back for insurance if Cadillac Williams never runs again.

Why draft another quarterback? Why not?

Gruden hasn't exactly discovered the Bucs' quarterback of the future.

Starter Jeff Garcia is 38 and in the final year of his deal. Chris Simms hasn't played in 18 months and wants to be traded. Brian Griese is on his fifth team in seven years and his second stint with the Bucs. Jake Plummer is retired. Luke McCown has a year left to prove he can make better decisions in the pocket. And Bruce Gradkowski is green and growing.

Under Gruden, the Bucs have not been bashful about investing in the position. Since '02, the Bucs have used six draft selections to collect signal-callers.

Two were used to select Simms (third round in '04) and Gradkowski (sixth round in '06). Four other picks were used to trade for veteran quarterbacks — McCown (sixth round to Cleveland in '04), Tim Rattay (sixth to 49ers in '05), Plummer (seventh in '08 to Denver) and Griese (seventh in '09).

Gruden has always had his most success with veteran quarterbacks. Brad Johnson won a Super Bowl. Rich Gannon at Oakland took him to the AFC title game. Griese and Garcia started seasons that resulted in division titles.

Perhaps it's because he lacks patience or his offense is too complicated. Whatever the reason, Gruden gets the reputation for not being able to develop a young quarterback.

"I never understood that," Gruden said. "In Philadelphia, Ty Detmer played well as a young guy. In Oakland, Bobby Hoying did play well when I was there. Chris (Simms) did help us here before he got hurt. He played pretty good and helped win a division title. There's not a lot of left-handed guys playing in the league, either. Which is another question I keep trying to find the answers to."

This year, as many as three quarterbacks could go in the first round. But the top one on most boards is Boston College's Matt Ryan, who will likely be long gone before the Bucs make their 20th overall selection.

But there are some interesting possibilities beginning in the second round.

• Louisville's Brian Brohm, who would've been a surefire first-rounder had he declared for the draft a year ago, could be the second quarterback off the board Saturday. His brother, Jeff, played for the 49ers and Bucs.

• Delaware's Joe Flacco, at 6 feet 7, 236 pounds, has all the physical tools and arguably the strongest arm in the draft. The knock is that he competed at the Division I-AA level.

"I think his (Senior) Bowl game performance really helped him," Gruden said of Flacco. "I think when you watch (Michigan's Chad) Henne and (Tennessee's Eric) Ainge and you watch (Hawaii's) Colt Brennan and all the guys who were there in Mobile (Ala.), I think Flacco helped himself. He stood out there. He's a big guy, poised and confident. People liked his stroke. People liked the way he threw the football. He's thrown for a gazillion yards and dominated the level of competition."

• Another interesting possibility is San Diego's Josh Johnson, a favorite of Bucs pro personnel assistant Doug Williams. Johnson, the fastest quarterback in the draft with a 4.4 40-yard dash, threw 43 touchdowns with one interception last season.

"That's hard to do," Gruden said. "Then you watch the East-West game and watch him run around and make plays. Phil Simms came out of Morehead State. A lot of these guys came out of small schools. He's going to play in the league."

The Bucs have visited with Brohm, Flacco, Henne and Johnson. Perhaps that's a sign they are targeting a quarterback.

"At some point, yeah, you'd like to have that guy who's going to be the model of the franchise for years to come," Gruden said. "But sometimes, you're just singing, 'I like dreaming.' "

Updates sent to your cell

Want to know the Bucs' draft moves
instantly without sitting in front of the TV all day? Sign up to follow ''Bucs Beat" on Twitter, and we'll send text alerts directly to your computer or mobile phone Saturday and Sunday.

Sign up at:

Would Bucs take another QB? Don't rule it out 04/21/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 3:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  2. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  3. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  4. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  5. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)