It’s Christmas day for NFL fans all around the globe. By this time tonight, 32 players will know the destination of their new NFL homes and the pundits will be anointing each player as a perennial All-Pro and for some, the savior of their franchise. At 8pm, Roger Goodell will officially put the Buccaneers “on the clock” and by 8:15 either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota will become the 5th franchise quarterback in team history. The debate has raged for nearly 5 months between Winston, the strong armed, pro-ready signal caller and Mariota, the scrambling, cerebral field general and now the moment has come to decide or trade the pick and avoid the comparison altogether.
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith have publicly stated that they are in full agreement on which player the team will select. Local reporters have reported that the phones have been ringing more frequently these last few days with undisclosed teams calling to find out the availability of what it would take to trade into the overall top pick. I would guess that one or more teams have also inquired about the Bucs 2nd round pick, #34, as well.
Do the Buccaneers have an ace up their sleeve, or have they tried their best to put up a smokescreen that obviously hasn’t fooled anyone as no Jameis Winston trade rumors have been reported thus far? In what some have called the biggest draft selection in team history, the Buccaneers have done their due diligence on both quarterbacks and all that remains is to turn the card into the commissioner. This choice has the possibility of dictating the course of the franchise over the next decade as the right player could end the recent losing seasons streak or become the next Josh Freeman and send the Bucs searching for a new franchise quarterback in a few years. Either way, the future is now and the fan base will get behind the young quarterback with renewed hope and visions of 2002.