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Bucs coach Lovie Smith won't rule out drafting QB with No. 7 pick

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

More Draft: NFL Mock Drafts | Big Board | NFL combine news and updates

Of the eight teams picking at the top of the draft, five of them have immediate needs at quarterback: The Texans (they have the No. 1 selection), the Jaguars (No. 3), the Browns (No. 4), the Raiders (No. 5) and the Vikings (No. 8). The other three teams -- the Rams, Falcons and Buccaneers appear set with Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan and Mike Glennon.

Except that at the NFL combine Thursday, new Bucs coach Lovie Smith indicated that quarterback remains an option with the team's seventh overall pick.

"I know enough about that draft to know, yeah, there's someone that would be worthy of the seventh pick because everything is on the board right now," Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Tribune. "Whenever you have a chance to get a franchise quarterback, you have to consider that."

The early favorites to go off the board in the first half of the round include Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Central Florida's Blake Bortles, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Fresno State's Derek Carr.

But the feeling heading into the offseason was that Glennon had done enough as a rookie to keep the job heading into 2014. After taking over for Josh Freeman, the third-round pick completed 59.4 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on a Bucs team that improved as the season progressed.

"Mike did some good things as a rookie," Smith said. "To say right now that Mike is the answer and he's our quarterback of the future and we're going to build around him and give him a 20-year contract right now, you're not there.

"You just like the things he brings to the table. Strong arm. Great guy. He is a guy that seems like he doesn't have an offseason because he has been working his butt off in the facility. But again, I just know I like him on the football team as one of our quarterbacks right now. As you mentioned, we have just two quarterbacks signed. We're going to have at least four in camp, at least one guy will be in the mix and you can let that all play out."

Tampa Bay currently has just two quarterbacks on the roster; Glennon and recently signed Mike Kafka.

"I think in an ideal world, you would like to have some kind of veteran in the mix instead of three young guys that haven't played a lot," Smith said. "No, that's not an ideal situation to be in at the quarterback position. I think you can maybe get away with it at some of the other positions. But no, that's not an ideal situation to be in. It can work, though.

"Again, if you say that you can win with a young quarterback, it's an added bonus to have another veteran with him. If you look right now, there are a lot of young quarterbacks in the league -- Andrew Luck, Wilson, Cam Newton in our division that are playing early. Whether they have a backup with them or not, I don't think it's really a big deal."

According to the most recent NFLDraftScout.com/CBSSports.com mock draft, the Bucs take wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Rob Rang and Pete Prisco), or outside linebacker Khalil Mack (Dane Brugler and Pat Kirwan).

Lovie Smith won't rule out drafting a QB. (USATSI)
Lovie Smith won't rule out drafting a QB. (USATSI)

 
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