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What drafting Donovan Smith means for the Buccaneers

How good is the latest Buccaneer, and how does he fit the team's plans?

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Penn State offensive tackle Donovan Smith with their second-round pick. The massive, 338 lbs. lineman should turn into an immediate starter and upgrade for the worst offensive line in the league. His size also points to another likely development: the Bucs may be moving to more of a power running scheme, relying on big guys and numbers at the point of attack to create movement. A shift in emphasis, though every NFL team runs both zone and power schemes.

Recurring themes throughout his scouting reports are that he's not overly athletic in space, and that his work ethic may be a concern. The former makes me think that he may eventually end up inside at guard, although that could work at right tackle, too. His size gives him an advantage at left tackle -- it's simply more difficult to get past bigger dudes, for obvious reasons -- but you do need more athleticism there. Another point of emphasis: his technique, especially his hands, are supposedly going to need a lot of work. That's true for most college linemen, though, and usually the easiest thing to solve for offensive line coaches.

So Smith has the tools to turn into a very good lineman, but the question is whether they can get him to play with that edge consistently. If they can, they may have a star on their hands -- or at least a very good guard. If they can't, they may have some issues. That's where his motivation comes in, but also the Bucs' offensive line coach -- someone who struggled to get that edge out of his players last year, especially Anthony Collins.

The immediate impact this has on the Bucs is unclear, because so much of their plans on the offensive line are undetermined. Evan Dietrich-Smith will start at center, while Logan Mankins will start at left guard. But beyond that, we don't know very much: Smith could start at left tackle, right tackle, or right guard, depending on how he looks at each position in training camp, and how the other players develop, especially guard Kadeem Edwards and tackle Kevin Pamphile. The Bucs' initial plan is to try him out at left tackle, per Ed Werder, keeping Demar Dotson on the right, but those plans can change swiftly in training camp.

Regardless of where he plays, though, we can probably safely assume that the Bucs mean for Smith to start this year, which means they only have one more hole to plug on the line -- one they could plug by developing a player already on the roster, or adding someone else. We just don't know which hole that's going to be, exactly.