The Tampa Bay Buccaneers passed on selecting a rookie quarterback prompting rumors that the franchise could be in the QB business for the 2024 NFL draft. All signs point to the Bucs orchestrating a training camp competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask to earn the QB1 role for 2023.
The future at the position beyond this season is less clear as Mayfield signed a one-year deal, while Trask only played in one game during his first two NFL seasons. USA Today’s Christian D’Andrea released a “way-too-early” 2024 NFL mock draft, and has the Bucs landing USC star quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick.
“Replacing Tom Brady won’t be easy, but a year with Kyle Trask (maybe) at QB1 has its benefits,” D’Andrea wrote on April 30, 2023. “Either Trask outperforms expectations and Tampa winds up nowhere near the top of the draft, or the Bucs collapse into a puddle and float to the top of the draft to select Williams. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has all the tools to be an MVP candidate on Sundays.”
NFL Draft 2024: The Bucs Will Likely Need the No. 1 Pick to Land QB Caleb Williams
This would be both good and bad news for the Buccaneers as landing the No. 1 pick means Tampa Bay would be the worst team in the league this upcoming season. Yet, the reward is the Bucs would find their franchise quarterback to follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps. Chances are Tampa Bay has too much talent to wind up at the very bottom of the standings as general manager Jason Licht managed to withstand salary cap challenges and Brady’s retirement to field a competitive roster for the 2023 season.
There is a strong likelihood Williams would have been the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft if the Trojans quarterback was eligible to turn pro. Williams posted eye-popping stats at USC in 2022 throwing for 3,537 yards, 42 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 66.6% of his passes. The star signal-caller is also a threat with his legs adding 824 rushing yards and 16 TDs on the ground during his first two collegiate seasons.
USC QB Caleb Williams Is Drawing Comparisons to Chiefs Star Patrick Mahomes
Williams already created a buzz among Bucs fans earlier this offseason when the star quarterback liked a post featuring a graphic with himself wearing a Tampa Bay uniform. One NFL quarterbacks coach told The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman that Williams is the “closest” NFL prospect to compare to Patrick Mahomes since the Chiefs selected the quarterback in 2017.
“He is really good. His arm is special,” the coach told Feldman for an April 25 feature. “His play extension is special. His throw selection is special. He takes care of the ball well. The throws he makes … it’s not just the off-platform throws, it’s a lot of creating lanes for himself to throw. He’s the closest I’ve seen to (Patrick) Mahomes. He’s like a refined Mahomes. It’s hard to compare anybody to Mahomes, but he really does play like him. I don’t think his arm is quite like that, but it’s definitely special for college. It’s not quite as freaky as Pat’s, but it’s upper-level for the NFL.”
“He’s much bigger than Bryce (Young). He’s got this thick lower body, thick ankles, big, thick calves. And he plays fast.”
Things can change after the 2023 college football season, but the Bucs will likely need to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft to have a chance at Williams. Yet, the USC star is not the only intriguing quarterback that is projected to be part of the 2024 draft. Other quarterback prospects that could intrigue Tampa Bay next year include North Carolina’s Drake Maye, Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. among others.