With a pair of RFA tackles on the Buccaneers' roster, offensive line could go from a position of perceived strength on this team to a mess quickly, in this humble writer's opinion.
Looks like the Buccaneers might agree as well. The team continues to bring in more offensive line prospects to Tampa (which means either the Bucs are just doing diligence on guys who could add depth.... or they're more likely bracing for the prospect of losing Penn, Trueblood, or both to free agency next year or are looking to trade one of them this offseason).
The Buccaneers took a closer look at yet another offensive line prospect Tuesday, particularly another offensive tackle prospect.......this time bringing in USC OT Charles Brown to One Buc Place for a visit. Although Brown hasn't received as much publicity and run as other offensive line media/pundit darlings like Russell Okung, Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Davis, Trent Williams, Bruce Campbell, and Mike Iupati, this draft is incredibly, INCREDIBLY deep at offensive tackle......which means a guy like Brown, who would be a first-round leadpipe lock in other drafts, is slipping towards the back burner in this one.
Brown is an interesting player. He actually came to USC as a tight end, but wound up working his way over to offensive tackle, where he earned All-Pac-10 honors and was named to the Sporting News All-America Team in 2009. Brown entered his senior season at USC listed at 6-6, 285, but he's added another 15-20 pounds to him since that time. Listed at 303 pounds at the combine, he's a little on the light side for a left tackle and doesn't quite seem to be the type to physically dominate his opponent in run-blocking. However, Brown's forte is in pass-blocking, in which his quickness allows him to excel.
A little tough finding some video on Brown, but check it out here.
Make sure to take a gander at Mocking the Draft's scouting report on Brown here.
As odd as it sounds, perhaps my favorite attribute of Brown are his long arms, which are an asset to him in both run blocking and pass blocking. In pass protection, Brown can initiate contact with the defensive end from a further distance than your average tackle and can get his fast hands inside the chest of the end with a quick pop and establish first contact, which often gives him the edge in a one-on-one matchup. Brown's foot speed is good and he can move with the end while maintaining a long reach....thus preventing the end from getting an edge on either of his shoulders. Impressive indeed.
In the run game, Brown can fly off the line and engage the defender a half-step quicker than your typical lineman. He seems to play with a low pad level, which somewhat alleviates his apparent lack of top-notch strength. He would be quite adept as a zone blocker, as he has the speed to get to the second level of defenders while the play is still developing.
Adding an athletic tackle like Brown could be a boon for expanding the running game and hitting plays in the short passing game, especially against an aggressive front 7. What the Buccaneers found success in later in the year was, in part, hitting short passes.....case in point, cashing in on a catch and run to Cadillac Williams for a 21-yard TD against the Seahawks. Having a tackle that can quickly get in position makes it easier to execute on RB screen passes, WR screens, swing passes, outside stretch runs, and toss plays. Helps expand the Buccaneer playbook with plays that can pull the pants down on an overly-aggressive defense. Also, the Bucs switched up their blocking schemes during the season last year and eventually ended up using a combination of zone and assignment based schemes, which Brown's quickness would allow him to succeed in a zone blocking scheme.
All in all, I'm slightly concerned about Brown's ability to hold his own against a larger, more physical defensive end in the running game on a regular basis. However, at 303 pounds, there is room for him to add more weight and get stronger, so that could be a temporary perceived shortcoming. What's more, Brown has the pass protection ability to keep Freeman's blind side protected for years to come.
So what do you think about Brown? Would you be interested in the Buccaneers selecting him in the 2nd round?