The Buccaneers could procure Tom Brady’s successor in the 2023 NFL Draft, assuming one falls down to them at 19th overall.
Baker Mayfield may have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fooled, but pundits around the league are not betting on him to excel as a starter.
Mayfield has made it clear that he’s not Tom Brady, and he’s not going to try to be. As the Bucs hope and pray for the best version of Mayfield in 2023, they seemingly already have a backup plan in place with Kyle Trask.
If they wanted more insurance at the position, however, they may seriously consider selecting a quarterback in this year’s NFL draft. With the No. 19 overall pick, the Bucs wouldn’t get a top prospect like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud but could feasibly still get a raw, developmental player with more upside than Trask and a cleaner slate compared to Mayfield.
In Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock, he has the Bucs taking Kentucky’s Will Levis late in the first round.
If Levis starts to slide, I believe a team like Tampa Bay will trade up to get him. In this scenario, he falls right into the Bucs’ lap. Levis would compete with Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask for the starting job.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Will Levis to replace Tom Brady in a 2023 mock draft
According to Jeremiah, the Bucs will only pick Levis if two things happen: one, Levis has to slide all the way down to the late first round. The 6-foot-3 big-bodied quarterback has been hailed by most as a consensus top-15 draft pick, even going No. 1 overall by some pundits, and it’s hard to say whether he’ll fall down come Day 1 of the draft.
Even if he falls, the Bucs would probably have to trade up to get him, and that alone would put more pressure on Levis to succeed in his first year in the league.
With fellow NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers set to take a quarterback and the Atlanta Falcons flirting with the idea at pick No. 8, it would be very interesting to see the Bucs go down that route, too.
The division could feature as many as three rookie first-round quarterbacks if the Panthers, Falcons, and Bucs all take one early in the draft. Last year, the NFC South lagged behind other divisions for its unwatchable mediocrity, but this year, things should at least be a little more exciting.