When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted two offensive linemen in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft, the widespread expectation was that both would start on opening day. Donovan Smith certainly seems to be penciled in as the starter at left tackle, but it looks like Ali Marpet won't be starting on the same day.
According to JoeBucsFan, the Buccaneers don't think Marpet will be ready for opening day. Instead, they're projecting him to take over by the end of the season.
This by itself is not particularly baffling, given that all of Marpet's college experience came at the Division III level. That's a long way removed from NFL-level play, and it may take him a while to adjust. What is baffling, though, is that the Bucs realize that and at the same time have done nothing to bolster the right guard position, to the extent that Garrett Gilkey has been seen with the first team offensive line multiple times this offseason.
The Bucs could have addressed the position early in the offseason, but didn't. They still have the opportunity to get a short-term starter in Evan Mathis, but they refuse to even take a look at him. They could get some extra security in the form of John Moffitt, but I wouldn't hold my breath there.
Which means instead that Gilkey or second-year fifth-round pick Kadeem Edwards are slated to start on opening day. Neither player should make Bucs fans feel remotely confident: Gilkey was the worst player on the worst offensive line in the NFL last year, while Edwards has yet to take a single NFL snap.
The Bucs can't give their new franchise quarterback the abysmal protection they gave Josh McCown and Mike Glennon last year. That's a recipe for disaster -- one Lovie Smith has faced over and over and over again throughout his career, ironically. And yet somehow, it feels like the Bucs haven't learned a thing.