Buccaneers Could Land ‘Sleeper’ Quarterback

Jason Licht

Getty Jason Licht could select Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary late in the draft.

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look largely set at quarterback, a familiar “sleeper” could come their way in the draft next week.

JoeBucsFan.com highlighted former NFL quarterback Phil Simms’ analysis of Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary as a reason why the Buccaneers could make the pick in the sixth round. Buccaneers offensive coordinator Liam Coen worked with Leary at Kentucky, Simms’ response to naming Leary as a “sleeper type QB that hsa starter potential and more” was notable, JoeBucsFan.com wrote.

“Man, aggressive thrower. Big throws down the field a lot. Very strong arm, I thought,” Simms said via JoeBucsFan.com. “And just, you know, he played at Kentucky — it doesn’t matter, I’m judging him, not the team. But he caught my eyes. That was one of the first ones along with [University of Tennessee QB] Joe Milton that caught my eyes.”

“[Leary] can really let it go. He can be on the right hash and throw outcuts all the way to the left sideline. Maybe too aggressive. I think it was Missouri he was playing, they were a better team than Kentucky,” Simms added. “His decision making was horrendous. He threw three interceptions and every one of them was like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ But moves around better than I thought. … Great experience. Threw for over 10,000 yards in his career.”

Leary certainly wouldn’t get handed the keys to the Buccaneers offense anytime soon, barring injury. Tampa Bay has starter Baker Mayfield, 29, on a three-year, $100 million plus Kyle Trask and John Wolford as backups.

That said, Trask has 13 NFL regular season snaps and Wolford had four career starts. If Leary is a prospect who could live up to Simms’ vision, the Buccaneers could add critical depth behind Mayfield.

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht: ‘We Look at All of the Quarterbacks’

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht certainly didn’t rule out looking for a quarterback in the draft when he talked with reporters on April 11.

“We look at all of the quarterbacks. We spend a lot of time looking at the quarterbacks,” Licht said. “I would never say that we wouldn’t take a quarterback because you could take one and be glad that you did at some point.”

“Now, we like our room right now, but we will take a look at all of them, or we already have. It’s a little bit top heavy this year, but there is always that instance if we like somebody, and like I said, if we think he’s better than the other positions on the board that we would consider,” Licht added.

Devin Leary, Liam Coen Had 1 Season Together at Kentucky

Coen coached Leary as Kentucky’s offensive coordinator in 2023, and Leary led the Wildcats to a 7-6 record. A transfer from North Carolina State, Leary threw for 2,746 yards and 25 touchdowns versus 12 interceptions.

“It was an awesome opportunity to learn under Coach Coen,” Leary told reporters during the NFL Combine via Pewter Report on March 1. “He really taught me a lot, especially from an NFL standpoint being able to see it at the most elite level. I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting a really good one. I know he’s going to bring his expertise, his mastermind of the offensive brain. I’m really excited to see what he does with them.”

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