Marcus Mariota is heading to the National Football League in 2015, and he’ll almost assuredly be the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft. But it may not be as simple as him landing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who hold the top pick. The Bucs have issues across their roster, and won’t be a winning team in 2015 with or without a blue chip quarterback. That could lead them to trade the pick – and that’s where things could get complicated fast.
The most obvious trading partner is the Tennessee Titans, who have played QB carousel for some time and may be ready to line up their proverbial ducks behind Marcus Mariota in order to stabilize the position for the next decade. That means giving up on former number one pick Jake Locker, who has proven injury prone, and last year’s later round pick Zach Mettenberger, who is still a question mark. The Titans could give up a later round pick in order to swap places with Tampa. Such a move would ensure that the Bucs don’t trade the #1 pick to some other team.
That comes down to NFL teams that are in win-now mode but lack a quarterback whom they believe in. The Philadelphia Eagles come to mind, as neither Nick Foles nor Mark Sanchez is a safe bet at this point, but their offense may be more suited to Jameis Winston instead, whom they can acquire without having to give up as much. The New York Jets have the number six pick and may be looking to put a franchise QB in place after the failure of Geno Smith. The Buffalo Bills are also in the market for a passer to pair with star wideout Sammy Watkins.
But the safest bet is that the Tampa Bucs keep the #1 draft pick, take Marcus Mariota, and try to build a young core around him in a manner similar to how the Indianapolis Colts rebuilt around number one pick Andrew Luck. That leaves the Tennessee Titans choosing between Winston or another position.