Buccaneers Could Take Chance on 2-Sport Quarterback

John Rhys Plumlee

Getty University of Central Florida quarterback John Rhys Plumlee.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need flexibility when it comes to the quarterback position. Baker Mayfield is entrenched as the starter but after him, it’s much more fluid.

One recent look at a draft-eligible quarterback might be the very definition of flexibility with UCF’s John Rhys Plumlee, who also starred in baseball for the Knights.

According to Fox Sports’ Greg Auman, Plumlee was on hand for the Buccaneers’ local pro day on April 11.

Plumlee, 6-foot and 200 pounds, is undersized for an NFL quarterback but he’s tested through the roof headed into the draft and projects as a late-round pick or free-agent signing.

“Well known as one of the better athletes in the quarterback class, John Rhys Plumlee was a dual-sport standout at Ole Miss and UCF, playing baseball at a high level, too,” wrote CBS Sports’ Eric Galko. “But Plumlee’s 4.51-second 40-yard dash time, 36.5-inch vertical, 10-foot-4 broad jump and 4.27-second short shuttle all put him in elite historical company at quarterback.”

What Could Plumlee’s Role Be On NFL Roster?

Plumlee’s speed and athleticism could make him a viable option as a Swiss Army knife-type of player for the Buccaneers akin to the role the New Orleans Saints have carved out for Taysom Hill in recent years.

In two seasons as UCF’s starting quarterback, Plumlee threw for 4,857 yards, 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He was also dangerous running the ball with 1,367 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. As a freshman at Ole Miss in 2019, he set the freshman rushing record and quarterback rushing record with 1,023 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in just 8 starts.

Plumlee told The Paul Finebaum Show he believes he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL one day.

“I think I can be a weapon in many different ways,” Plumlee said. “But I also think that if you asked me I’m one of the best 32 quarterbacks in the world, and I think yeah, given the opportunity, I think that I am and I will be.”

Pro baseball could also be an option for Plumlee — he batted .286 with 11 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 43 runs, 32 RBI and a team-high 18 stolen bases for UCF in 2023.

Plumlee went viral in 2023 when he played in a UCF baseball game then rode a golf cart across campus to play in UCF’s spring game.

Buccaneers Have Depth at Quarterback in 2024

While the Buccaneers’ quarterback room seems set for 2024 with Mayfield and backups Kyle Trask and John Wolford, nothing is set in stone. It’s easy to see room for a player who could fit exclusively “Athlete” type of role on the roster — like Plumlee.

Since being hired as Tampa Bay’s general manager in 2014, Jason Licht has only selected a quarterback in the draft twice — Jameis Winston at No. 1 overall in 2015 and Trask in the second round in 2021.

Two picks that haven’t exactly set the world on fire.

“For a player who teams value as a still developing quarterback, but also as receiver/situational athlete, Plumlee testing well was a crucial part of his draft process,” Galko wrote. “Per Relative Athletic Score, if he was considered a receiver, he’d still be in the 73rd percentile as a receiver athlete.”