Tampa Bay Buccaneers  

 

Bucs GM says more than one team has inquired about top pick

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TAMPA -- Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said more than one team called Sunday inquiring about the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, which Tampa Bay holds -- and covets.

"Everything is for sale," Licht said.

The price tag and the Buccaneers' desire to retain the potential franchise-changing pick are the deal makers or breakers.

The calls were more "feeling out what it would take" to acquire the pick, Licht said. No parameters were given or offered, he said, declining to name the teams that called, only saying there were more than one. Licht said that he is unsure if he will hear back or take calls from other teams before the draft begins Thursday.

To get Tampa Bay to move off the top pick, the ransom would have to be extraordinary, in part because the Buccaneers have decided whom they are going to take, Licht said. It is presumed that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will be the top pick, although Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is a possibility.

"Lovie (Smith) and I are in complete alignment" on who the selection will be, Licht said. He added that only him, Smith and high-level personnel officials are involved in the final stages of the draft process. Ownership is also being kept informed.

Regarding Winston, the Bucs have done significant background checks, speaking to more than 75 people, according to the Tampa Tribune. According to the Tribune, the club did not interview Erica Kinsman who accused Winston of sexual assault while both were at FSU. Kinsman's attorneys told the Tribune that no NFL team has contacted them or their client. No criminal charges were pursued but a civil suit has been filed against Winston.

Licht declined to discuss specifics of the interview process with NFL Media, including why Kinsman or her lawyer was not contacted.

Members of the Glazer family, which owns and operates the franchise, have been involved in numerous conversations with Licht and Smith regarding the vetting of draft prospects, including Winston. They have been given information the team has collected on players, Licht said.

Licht added that ownership is comfortable with the team's findings and that ownership has not dissuaded them from drafting any particular player.

"They have called multiple times and told us 'We trust you,'" Licht said. "They have all the information and said they are 100 percent behind us. We know we have their support."

Without naming Winston, Licht said him and Smith are not apprehensive about any decisions they will make.

"Neither of us are afraid to what is perceived to be risks or what could happen if we don't take a certain player."

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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