It’s never too early to plan for your future, right? That’s exactly what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can begin doing later this month when the NFL Draft kicks off in Cleveland. With all their starters returning, they can turn their heads towards players that can have a role this year but also those that show promise and can be developed into contributors down the road.
One of those positions that that Bucs may want to look into is quarterback. Tom Brady is back for two more seasons, so why not look at the quarterback market in this year’s draft to bring in and develop behind Brady so that they can potentially be the starter come 2023?
One guy the Bucs may look to is the winningest quarterback in his school’s history and while he has some legitimate raw talent, there is plenty of refining that needs to be done.
IAN BOOK’S COLLEGIATE CAREER
Ian Book was a lightly recruited quarterback out of Oak Ridge High School in California. He had offers from some regional colleges before committing to Washington State – declining interest from places like Harvard, Yale, Boise State, and San Diego State. When interest came in from Notre Dame, Book quickly took a trip to the campus in South Bend, Indiana and de-committed from Washington State, opting for the opportunity with the Fighting Irish.
Book red shirted his Freshman year, then over the next four years he would play in 45 games for Notre Dame, becoming a starter part way through his Sophomore year. He completed 728 of 1,141 passes for a career 63.8% completion rate, with 8.948 yards, 72 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and 7.8 yards per attempt. Book also ran for 1,517 yards on 361 carries and seventeen touchdowns. His passing yards and touchdowns are second in school history, trailing only Brady Quinn – a former first round pick of the Cleveland Browns.
Notre Dame would win 30 games with Book as their starter, a school record by one quarterback. Book also became the first quarterback in school history to finish a season with 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards, and 30 touchdown passes.
I will always carry ND with me. I’m eternally grateful for the faith and trust from the coaches, staff, professors and athletic department.
My teammates and I will always be connected by the bond that comes with wearing the gold helmet.
Thank you, Notre Dame!
Go Irish☘️✌ pic.twitter.com/huMthWo8Nh
— Ian Book (@Ian_Book12) January 6, 2021
PRO DAY DATA AND ANALYSIS
Notre Dame just held their Pro Day this past Wednesday with thirteen participants, including Book who threw for those in attendance.
Though it was scripted and controlled – as Pro Days tend to be – Book performed as many expected him to. The things he did well all season, he did well on Wednesday while the things he’s been criticized for he did nothing to ease those concerns. During his workout, he was fantastic on timing routes as well as short-to-intermediate throws. When it came to the deep ball, he was overthrowing his receivers or not placing the ball in a catchable spot.
His throwing motion was one to be admired – quick, efficient, consistent, and smooth. For someone his stature – Book measured in at 6’0”, 211 lbs. – being able to get rid of the ball quickly and consistently would be imperative at the next level. Though he doesn’t possess huge arm strength, harnessing better accuracy will allow him to hit those 30-to-40 yard passes far more often than he did at Notre Dame.
Book ran a 4.59 40-yard dash, had a 32.5” vertical jump, 9’7” broad jump, 4.13 sec. 20-yard shuttle, 6.7 sec. three-cone drill, and did not do the bench press.
WHAT HE BRINGS IN 2021
For the Buccaneers, he brings a backup quarterback with incredible athleticism and raw talent that can begin to learn the intricacies of the offense while learning from the best player at his position to ever wear an NFL uniform – and that’s quite the head start.
It’s very possible that Book will end up being a career backup, but if an offensive coordinator can cater the offense to Book’s strengths he could see success at the next level. His size will be considered a detriment and some say that his 6’0” measurement is a little on the generous side. Even so, we’ve seen smaller quarterbacks have success in the NFL – Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, now Kyler Murray has entered into the conversation.
Book’s strengths are those short to intermediate routes, timing routes, and putting the ball up for his athletic playmakers to battle for the 50/50 balls – something that the Buccaneers’ offensive weapons do as well as anyone in the league.
Outside of some preseason time or something disastrous, Book won’t be seeing the field in 2021 for whoever takes him.
This is where it gets interesting. If the Bucs were the team to take him, his third year in the NFL would be his first opportunity to compete for a starting job. By then, the entire landscape of the team could be different and Book would no longer fit what the offense would be doing.
If the coaching staff were to remain intact – for argument’s sake, you could even say Bruce Arians retires but that Todd Bowles or Byron Leftwich are promoted, allowing most of the staff to stay where they are – then Book may have a chance to become the heir to the starting quarterback throne.
Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” style of airing it out probably wouldn’t be as prevalent with Book under center, but an aspect he brings that Tom Brady doesn’t is his ability to extend plays or gain yards with his legs. While, as of now, he relies on them a little too often and when he shouldn’t, it’s an asset that allows him to get away from pass rushers while also getting himself to a more open area of the field – thus, opening up windows to see and throw to.
While he has the upside based on sheer physical ability and athleticism to play in the NFL, there is some work that needs to be poured into him if he is going to become anything more than a reliable backup.
Ian Book, for as fun and talented as he is, will be a day three pick. Not just that, but likely a later day three pick – as in, probably in the sixth round or later.
Now, could he turn into a day three pick that is looked back on and everyone says, ‘Wow – how did we miss on him?’ Absolutely. However, there is just too much that Book has to improve on before you can justify throwing him into the flames of an NFL season as your starter.
His size will constantly be brought into question until he proves it isn’t a detriment to himself or the team at the next level. Again, his throwing motion and mechanics are impressive and his ability to throw from multiple angles and while on the move is an asset that really can’t be taught. It isn’t on a Patrick Mahomes level, but Book has been successful with it enough that you know a play isn’t over while he’s out there.
ON THE CLOCK…
Now, it’s time for your thoughts, Bucs Nation. You’re on the clock. Given the luxury that Tampa Bay has to simply add depth in this year’s NFL Draft and considering how Book stacks up as a potential day three pick, as well as his strengths and weaknesses being dropped into Bruce Arians’ and Byron Leftwich’s offense, how do you view Notre Dame’s all time winningest quarterback? Vote in the poll and discuss in the comment section below.
For Ian Book, the Buccaneers should…
…draft him at his current projection (late day three)
…draft him early (early day three)
…take a better player earlier in the draft
…draft this position, but later than he is projected
…not draft this position group at all
0 votes total