Lovie Smith had his post season press conference on Monday. While most of it was spent on the typical failures of the season and about a potential offensive coordinator hire, Lovie did provide a couple of hints to the Bucs draft plans.
“That will definitely be a part of it," Lovie Smith said about the 1st overall pick playing a role in who the next offensive coordinator will be. "Again, if you have to be down where we are right now, to have a chance to – I mean, we start the domino effect as far as the draft is concerned. To me, it should be an attractive job for guys out there and that will affect it a little bit, but it’s not like we will reinvent how football is played or anything like that. There are certain parameters that I’m looking for in an offense coordinator and I think we’ll be able to get those.”
The most attractive part to a potential offensive coordinator with having the 1st overall selection is the potential of drafting a top quarterback. Obviously, that's what Lovie Smith was referring to.
In this draft, there are two quarterbacks with two very different skill-sets and backgrounds.
Marcus Mariota is an athletic quarterback from a spread offense who makes plays with his arm and his legs. Mariota's limitations come from a lack of pro-style progressions and reads. Spread quarterbacks have tended to struggle mightily in the NFL. If the Bucs are locked in on Marcus Mariota as their quarterback, a coordinator that runs a variation of his collegiate offense would be ideal.
Jameis Winston comes from a pro-style offense at Florida State where going through progressions and anticipating throws are the norm. There's no secret that Winston's background is a concern. If the Bucs are locked in on Winston, Lovie Smith can hire an offensive coordinator that runs a pro-style balanced attack, which Lovie actually prefers. That offensive coordinator would also need to be able to control Winston and help him develop into the incredible potential that he has.
I believe Jameis Winston, strictly because of his experience doing what NFL quarterbacks are told to do, is the more capable of the two quarterbacks to step in and play right away. Lovie Smith believes that "IF" the Bucs take a quarterback, that quarterback will be playing early.
“In an ideal world, I guess you have a guy that waits," Lovie Smith said about whether he'd be comfortable with a rookie starting at quarterback. "In some situations I guess you can have a player in a situation like – the best player in the league right now – Aaron Rodgers is in. But normally it doesn’t work like that. I’ve seen the Andrew Lucks and Peyton Mannings – there have been guys who have come into the league that were able to play. This past year we had a couple I think. Oakland, Minnesota both started rookie quarterbacks and they were able to [play well]. So for a football team, if they choose to go that direction, I think you can get that.”
Usually, a team can wait until they are on the clock to make their final selection of whom they want to draft. For the Bucs, I believe that decision on the type of quarterback they want needs to be made before their coordinator is selected. The last thing you want to do is try and stick a square peg in a round hole. Potentially, both quarterbacks can fit in any offense, but why not try and make the transition for either as seamless and smooth as possible?
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