While most of the attention heading toward the 2021 NFL Draft resides at the top of the first round, where a handful of quarterbacks could come off the board, intrigue at the end of Day 1 sits with the Super Bowl champions.
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returning an unprecedented 22 starters from their Lombardi-lifting squad of a year ago, the Bucs are in an enviable position of selecting the best player available.
In a recent discussion with reporters, coach Bruce Arians noted that even with Tom Brady planning to play several more seasons in Tampa, the Bucs could very well decide a quarterback is the best move with the 32nd overall pick. Plucking a future signal-caller is also an option later in the draft.
"If the right guy is there that we think is a developmental guy that has the upside that outweighs every other position of those five or six guys that we're looking at, then we wouldn't be against it," Arians said via the Athletic. "The same thing in the second round and the third round -- if we have five guys and one's a quarterback, and we think his development is better than those positions, sure."
Selecting a quarterback No. 32 overall would have the added benefit of the potential fifth-year option, which gives the Bucs more control over the future in the post-Brady days.
The top five signal-callers are all expected to be off the board well before the Bucs make their pick. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are expected to go No. 1 and No. 2 overall, respectively. The 49ers will take a QB at No. 3 -- either Trey Lance, Justin Fields or Mac Jones. Potentially QB-needy teams like the Broncos, Patriots and others also sit in the top half of the draft order.
Tampa doesn't have a glaring need, which benefits GM Jason Licht's draft mobility. He can take the best player available. He can stack talent upon talent, adding depth to a veteran-laden team. He could opt for youth along the Bucs defensive line -- the club's most obvious "need." There will be starting-caliber offensive linemen and secondary talent when the Bucs pick at No. 32. Tampa could also trade back to a club wanting to leap back into the first round and obtain more picks, perhaps in future years.
With a 43-year-old Brady at the helm, Licht could also opt to groom a signal-caller in a long-term building plan. Florida's Kyle Trask and Texas A&M's Kellen Mond both could be options. Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager mocked Stanford QB Davis Mils to the Bucs in his prognostication exercise.
The Bucs' Super Bowl window is open now, so Tampa could stack position players who could impact the 2021 season more than a backup QB. Or Licht could use his extraordinary stability to plan for the future to keep that Super Bowl window open after Brady finally rides into the sunset.