Lovie Smith isn't ruling out anything in his first draft as head coach of the Buccaneers. (Chris O'Meara/AP)
INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL head coaches often want the opportunity to handpick their starting QB after taking a new job, and Lovie Smith may take that approach in Tampa Bay -- even with Mike Glennon already in the fold.
Glennon started 13 games for the Buccaneers last season, posting surprisingly solid numbers (19 touchdowns, nine interceptions and 2,608 yards). He completed at least 24 passes in each of his first four starts, then later led a 4-1 stretch to move Tampa Bay from the lingering danger of an 0-16 season.
Smith, who addressed the media at the combine Thursday afternoon, told the Tampa Bay Times, though, that the Buccaneers "have to consider" a quarterback with the No. 7 overall pick in May.
"I know enough about that draft to know, yeah, there’s someone that would be worthy of the seventh pick because everything is on the board right now," Smith told the Times. "Mike did some good things. But he did some good things as a rookie. To say right now that Mike is the answer and he’s our quarterback of the future and we’re going to build around him and give him a 20-year contract right now, you’re not there.
"You just like the things he brings to the table. Strong arm. Great guy. He is a guy that seems like he doesn’t have an offseason because he has been working his butt off in the facility. But again, I just know I like him on the football team as one of our quarterbacks right now. As you mentioned, we have just two quarterbacks signed. We’re going to have at least four in camp, at least one guy will be in the mix and you can let that all play out."
The other QB currently on the Tampa Bay roster is Mike Kafka, a 2010 fourth-round pick of the Eagles who has 16 career regular-season pass attempts under his belt. The working assumption was that Glennon would head into training camp as the Buccaneers' No. 1 QB, possibly with a not-yet-signed veteran behind him.
"I like what Mike Glennon did [in 2013]," Smith said here. "The way he was able to step in, especially as a rookie, is not easy to do."
Wide receiver actually has been a popular pick for Tampa Bay with that seventh overall pick in mock drafts -- the offense could use another top-tier weapon alongside Vincent Jackson.
Smith might be willing to throw a wrench into Round 1. Of course, there's also the possibility that part of his strategy in making those comments was to convince a team below Tampa Bay (Minnesota, perhaps) that a coveted QB could be gone before their pick rolls around.