If I am Buddy Nix, and I believe there is a franchise QB in this draft, then I am taking him at #8 or moving up. Even if we are ‘reaching’ for that QB and he’s not the best player available on the board. Here’s why the other options don’t work.
Option 1 – trade back into the 1st round: We are already short one draft pick. I honestly don’t see any way that Buddy trades away a 3rd rounder to package with our 2nd rounder to move back into the late 1st round for a QB. I doubt he would make that trade even if we had all our draft picks, but the fact that we are one short makes it highly unlikely that he makes that deal.
Buddy has never been shy about saying that he values draft picks like gold. I think he even mentioned not having enough picks this year on the recorded phone call with the Bucs GM. And, Buddy doesn’t really have a history of making big moves up/down a draft board. I think it is pretty safe to say that he won’t be making that trade.
Let’s say you disagree with me and think trading back into the first round is his intent. That strategy doesn’t have any guarantees about it. There is no guarantee that we’ll find a trading partner. There is no guarantee that someone won’t jump up higher than us to get the QB that we want. So if Buddy (or any GM for that matter) thinks that this is the best strategy to acquire your franchise QB, he truly is a Riverboat Gambler.
Option 2 – Wait to pick the best available QB in rounds 2 or 3: This is a horrible strategy. QB is by far the most important position. “Waiting” until your pick and then selecting the ‘best one left’ might work with a WR, CB or other position, but it is not the strategy to follow when targeting your franchise QB. This option is essentially letting the other teams choose your QB for you. So you wait around and let the top 3-4 QBs get picked, and then grab the best of the rest? That makes no sense. Finding a franchise QB is extremely difficult. If you identify a prospect as a future franchise QB, you don’t wait for that player to fall to you. You aggressively get that player, no matter what you have to give up.
Option 3 – Trade down from #8 later in the first round: I actually don’t mind this strategy because this draft is so deep and we can use the extra 2nd round pick. However, it has many of the same problems as the first two options as you are then praying that your QB falls to you. I think this option controls your fate a little bit more, but it still would scare me. The only way this option makes a lot of sense to me is if they’ve graded 2-3 QBs about the same. And they’d be okay with any of them.
Option 4 – The later round QB: Let's say none of the big name QBs have been evaluated as a franchise QB. Maybe Nix has identified Scott, Bray or a Dysert as a guy that will develop into that franchise QB. I wouldn't wait and draft them a round earlier than I expect them to go. I'd even consider drafting them towards the end of the first round to make sure I got the guy I want. Again, if you trust your scouting and your grades then go get the guy you believe in. Don't risk losing him because he isn't a 'value' where you are picking.
All of this analysis is primarily dependent on one thing: that OBD has identified at least one QB in this class that will be a franchise QB. If they don’t think any of them are, they should just wait until the mid rounds and take a project guy or as much as it pains me to say it....not draft a QB at all. But, if they have one guy that they believe in, they need to aggressively get that player. Franchise QB is too important to leave anything to chance. I don’t care if they pull a Washington-like trade and move up to #1 if they believe in a QB that much. They’d better be right, but at least I’d agree with the strategy of being aggressive to get the guy you want.