Bucs expected to strongly consider QB Johnny Manziel in first round

Johnny Manziel could end up being a Top 10 pick. (Getty Images)

With the seventh pick of next week's NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be in the market to grab a quarterback. Or an offensive lineman. Or a receiver.

It turns out the new regime has a lot of holes to fill on the Bucs roster, but general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith have both sounded pretty smitten with former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

"He had a very impressive interview," Licht said Tuesday. "We had a great day with him. Lovie and him have Texas roots. We enjoyed every minute that he was here. Sharp guy."

As for his purported character issues, Licht said he was unconcerned.

"He's the Heisman Trophy winner," Licht said. "A lot of the situations he's been in you can't blame him for. If I were young and had a Heisman Trophy on my mantel, I'd probably be in a lot more trouble than the next guy. So I think we're just going to make the best football decision, what's best for our football team and I think Lovie and his staff can handle the rest of it."

There is a slight problem for Tampa if they do indeed plan to draft Manziel. Four teams drafting ahead of the Bucs -- Houston (first), Jacksonville (third), Cleveland (fourth), and Oakland (fifth) -- will also be looking to draft a quarterback. The good news -- if you can call it that -- is that the Bucs have various other needs, so they don't absolutely have to take a quarterback.

In fact, Smith said he was content with the QBs on the roster as is.

"I don't know how much of a priority it is," Smith said of taking a quarterback, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "We're going to keep that option open, of course. There are some good quarterbacks in this draft, I think that's been documented.

"But just looking at our roster right now, we had a good chance to see our guys in action last week. Josh McCown is a good quarterback that can lead us to a lot of victories. Mike Glennon is an excellent quarterback also. Mike Kafka. I feel pretty good about our guys we have right now even though there are a lot of good options at the QB position [in the draft]."

Another option for Tampa is the possibility of a trade -- a scenario Licht did little to discredit.

"That is something that we would definitely look into," Licht said Tuesday of a potential trade. "And we've already reached out to teams, and if our player isn't there we'd really be open to conversations about moving back and picking up picks.

"But the bottom line is, we have to find a trade partner. The thing is, you just don't know how this is going to fall until draft day. You can try to speculate, try to guess, but there are going to be some surprises."

Draft prognosticators differ greatly on the draft order -- even at the top, where it's typically more clear-cut. But with the way Licht and Smith are talking, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Manziel go to Tampa at No. 7, if he's still available.

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