We may be in our third iteration of Mock Draft Roundup, but this is the first that will include analyst Daniel Jeremiah's first mock of the season on NFL.com. While most pundits have the Bucs picking an EDGE guy or even an offensive tackle, Jeremiah goes in a different direction for the Bucs: quarterback.
Jeremiah, in fact, has three quarterbacks going in the top 15 and it's Oregon's Justin Herbert that rounds it out for Tampa Bay at No. 14. The seasoned draft analyst and former NFL scout had this to say about his reasoning behind the pick:
"Teams are all over the map on Herbert. However, he does fit the profile for Bruce Arians -- he's big, strong and smart."
There's no doubt about Herbert's strength and football IQ. He's been showing that off in Mobile through the first day of practices at the Senior Bowl. His intelligence was evident too at the podium. Herbert majored in general science at Oregon and said he would be a high school science teacher and football coach if he wasn't playing football. Herbert brings his scientific mentality to the football field, too – picking apart defenses and studying how they work as a means of being able to beat them.
Herbert's Oregon career was highlighted by a multitude of honors, both on the field and off. He was a Google Cloud Academic All-American and a Pac-12 All-Academic First Team on top of being Pac-12 All-Conference on Phil Steele's first team and a Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention. He threw for 3,471 yards his senior season with 32 touchdowns against six interceptions. Herbert looks every bit the part of NFL quarterback at 6-6, 237 pounds with the arm to match and capped off his collegiate career with an impressive Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin.
Jeremiah doesn't offer much in the way of what he thinks the Bucs will do with their current quarterback situation, but he likely thinks it's a good idea to draft a young player whether or not the team retains Jameis Winston, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Take a look at the Buccaneers players officially slated to become unrestricted, restricted, or exclusive rights free agents when the NFL's free agency period begins in March.