The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up into the second round of the 2015 NFL draft with the Indianapolis Colts to take Ali Marpet of Hobart College, per Rick Stroud. The Bucs jumped four spots to number 61, obviously giving up their third-round pick in the process. The Bucs moved back in the fourth round with the Indianapolis Colts to go up these four spots, per Stroud. That means that instead of picking 109th overall in the fourth round, the Bucs will pick 128th overall -- a move back of 19 spots, which should not present a huge problem.
Having added a quarterback and an offensive tackle, the Buccaneers had the luxury to focus on a position that wasn't an immediate and pressing need with their third-round pick, but they rounded out their offensive line with a starting guard instead. That gives the Bucs two new starting linemen in this draft to protect Jameis Winston, with Penn State's Donovan Smith likely moving to left tackle and Ali Marpet lining up at right guard. That's a massive improvement over last year's disaster of an offensive line.
Louis Bien wrote an excellent profile of the small-school guard, who went to college as a 230 lbs. guard but put on a lot of weight while retaining a good amount of athleticism, too. In fact, he was arguably the most athletic lineman at the scouting combine, posing the best or second-best numbers in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle for an offensive lineman. Buffalo Rumblings sees him as a future starting guard or center, but it's an iffy projection given his small-school background.
Given the information I have about Marpet, including his athleticism, the technique I've witnessed, and his build, I would grade him as a third-round pick. Obviously, a team that has scouted him fully will have a better handle on his value, and I could see his grade ranging between the second and fifth rounds, depending on what teams value. He has a lot of good aspects and played well when the competition stepped up in the Senior Bowl and the Combine. I think I see a future starting guard or center. That's worth a second-day pick to me.
Notably, both of the two players the Bucs selected today went to the Senior Bowl and stood out there -- even though the Bucs turned down the opportunity to coach it.
Though the Bucs have now really shored up their offensive line, that does mean they ignored needs at a few other positions. The team is likely to want to add a defensive end, safety and running back, and is in search of a returner as well. Curiously, the Bucs have spent all of their draft picks over the past two years on offensive players -- Lovie Smith may be a defensive head coach, but he hasn't drafted a single defensive player.
Don't leave us yet, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could still trade back up into the third round, and we'll have plenty of analysis of today's Tampa Bay picks coming up.
Buccaneers draft picks
|Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
|Donovan Smith, T, Penn State
|Ali Marpet, G, Hobart