Tampa, Fla. — Raheem Morris shrugged off question after question, rejecting the notion that it must have been difficult deciding between drafting Josh Freeman and finding help for a porous defense that cost Tampa Bay a playoff berth.
“That’s a quarterback,” the first-year coach said Saturday night. “We all know you can’t win in this league without a quarterback. You just can’t do it.”
Ignoring obvious needs on defense, the Buccaneers selected Freeman with the 17th pick in the first round and are counting on the former Kansas State QB developing into a player that will lead the them back among the NFL’s elite.
To get him, they moved up two spots in the draft order, swapping places with the Cleveland Browns, who also received Tampa Bay’s sixth-round pick (No. 191 overall).
“He’s a long-term decision. He’s the direction we’re going,” said Morris, though the Bucs aren’t necessarily expecting Freeman to be the starter right away.