With it looking as if no one is interested in surrendering a first round pick for Brandon Marshall, I think the Bucs are in perfect position to end up with the disgruntled Denver receiver come draft weekend. Despite being an upper echelon #1 pass catcher, there hasn’t been a lot of buzz about him being dealt. One could easily argue that Tampa’s receiver situation is the league’s worst, so you would have to think that the Bucs are at least mildly intrigued at the thought acquiring Marshall’s services. Yes, he’s had off-field issues of both the team and non-team variety, but he’s an unquestioned game-changing talent. The Bucs invested in a franchise signal caller a year ago, and they’ve made it no secret that he’s the future. Well, he’s not going to be the present, much less the future, unless the wide receiver position sees a noticeable upgrade in talent.
How are the Bucs in perfect position to get Marshall? If you look at the teams making the first ten picks of round two, I don’t see a lot of angling for him at the top of the round. Aside from having two of those ten picks, the Bucs have an edge over other teams due to the fact that most of them don’t figure to be pursuing a receiver, whether it’s Marshall or a draftee, with their pick. Let’s break it down:
33) St. Louis Rams
They’re expected to get their QB with the first overall pick and do have a need for a #1 receiver.
34) Detroit Lions
They already have Calvin Johnson and would seem to be out of the chase for Marshall.
35) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The team needs a #1 receiver badly.
36) Kansas City Chiefs
Dwayne Bowe is their #1, and dealing for Brandon Marshall doesn’t seem like part of their offseason plan. Plus they’re a divisional opponent. Golden Tate would be far more likely IMO if he's still on the board at #36. He fits the complimentary receiver mold opposite Bowe and would be reunited with Charlie Weis.
37) Philadelphia Eagles
Receiver certainly isn’t a top need.
38) Cleveland Browns
They’re as desperate as the Bucs for a #1 receiver.
39) Oakland Raiders
Would they deal within the division?
40) San Diego
41) Buffalo Bills
How does Marshall like Canada?
42) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
They still need a #1 receiver.
What helps (if you think Tampa has a serious shot) is that all of Denver’s divisional foes are among those nine teams. Of those teams, I think you can instantly cross of five of them – Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Oakland, and San Diego.
That leaves St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Buffalo.
A writer for the Rams flat out denied that the team has any interest in Marshall. I’ve also read where Mike Holmgren shot down any possibility of a deal for Marshall, but I can’t find any direct quotes. Even without a quote, acquiring Marshall doesn’t really seem like a Holmgren-type move. I really don’t see the Bills as a possibility, despite their huge need for a #1 receiver, especially if a NT like Terrence Cody or maybe Linval Joseph or Cam Thomas is there at #41.
Brandon Marshall could easily still be a Bronco when the Bucs are on the clock at #42. If Tampa Bay was able to draft a combination of Ndamukong Suh / Gerald McCoy and Jerry Hughes / Everson Griffen / Kareem Jackson / Patrick Robinson with the 35th pick, I think it’s time to get on the phone with the Broncos. I still have Arrelious Benn going to the Bucs with this pick and like his potential as a #1 guy, but Marshall, despite his “baggage”, is a proven commodity.
Sure, the Bucs would be taking a risk by acquiring Marshall, but you can’t sit on the sidelines forever. If the staff feels that they can provide Marshall with an agreeable environment, they need to get the deal done for pick #42 at that point. The Bucs have said that they are going to do everything they can to make Freeman a winner and acquiring a player with Marshall’s talent could pay off with a lot of wins.