The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made it no secret that they'd like to add some talent along the interior offensive line via the waiver wire, or possibly even a trade -- as reported by Jenna Laine of Sports Talk Florida. I sincerely hope that is not a band-aid solution for our interior line problems. Anyone we bring in now who is available for trade, will likely take 4-6 weeks to get acclimated and their linemates would take equally long to jell with them. It would be a short-term disruption when we are likely to need that long to continue to develop our young offensive line.
While I adamantly oppose bringing in anything short of a Pro Bowl-caliber guard I do feel that the Bucs could stand to add some depth. We lost backup center Josh Allen who was placed on injured reserve, and while former Bull Jeremiah Warren is on the roster his pass protection even in the Cincinnati game left a lot to be desired and he didn’t bring anything special as a run blocker. Warren can be signed to the practice squad and given additional time to develop. Tampa however should make a few calls and see who is available elsewhere. As always, I have some suggestions:
Dallas Reynolds, C/G, New York Giants.
Out of BYU, he’s a classic over-archiever: a smart athlete who is a bit underpowered at the point of attack. Reynolds originally broke in with the Philadelphia Eagles after going undrafted in 2009. He spent the next two seasons on the Eagles practice squad. He then earned a roster spot and filled in for an injured Jason Kelce. In search of more reliable playing time he signed with the Giants in 2013, but was beaten out in camp. Over that time Reynolds has been the eighth man on the line. He can play center and guard and has been on and off the Giants active roster. During his career he’s started 14 times and appeared in 34 games.
The Giants have former CFL Rookie of the Year (followed by Offensive Lineman of the Year) Brett Jones in camp as a center, to go along with 2014 2nd-round pick and starter Weston Richburg. Jones has looked impressive in the preseason, albeit in mop up time, but the Giants may be willing to move Reynolds as they appear to have one center too many. If they take a chance to put Jones (who has also appeared at OT) on the waiver wire to place him on their practice squad he should be snapped up immediately. More likely it's Reynolds who is the odd man out and probably could be had for a conditional pick or player.
Ryan Jensen, G/C, Baltimore Ravens
Jensen might not ever be a road-grader, but he's certainly got the right movement skills. He came out of Colorado St.-Pueblo back in the 2013 draft as a talented but raw guard. He suffered an injury his rookie season, eventually leading to a release and return to practice squad. With a couple of seasons now under his belt, Jensen has found his niche as a backup center with good pass blocking skills. Baltimore has probably the most guard depth in the league and added Harvard center and UDFA Nick Easton who has had an excellent preseason, so Jensen could probably be acquired for a conditional pick especially given the Ravens enjoyment of collecting day 3 picks.
Trevor Robinson, C, San Diego Chargers
Originally a UDFA from Notre Dame, Robinson started a few games for Cincinnati back in 2012. He got displaced by Bodine and Johnson who were both younger and stronger. He's nothing special but he's smart enough and pretty solid. During his career Robinson has amassed 8 starts and appeared in 22 games over 4 years.
Eric Kush, C, Kansas City Chiefs
Bback when Rodney Hudson was still emerging, the Chiefs drafted Eric Kush in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL draft. He came out of tiny California College in Pennsylvania (The Vulcans) and used a strong east-west shrine game to make himself draftable. To say he’s played sparingly behind Hudson would be an understatement as he’s appeared in just 3 games and one start. Kush thought he might have a chance at the starting gig this season but has been blown out of the water by Mitch Morse who's exceeding all expectations (even mine and I was higher on him coming out this year than most). The Chiefs cut him, so he's ripe for the taking.
Joe Berger, C/G, Minnesota Vikings
Originally playing out of tiny Division II Michigan Tech, Berger was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2005. Berger is the classic do-it-all interior offensive lineman he’s certainly not a great blocker he’s a below average starter and slightly above average backup. He’s also noted for his willingness to contribute on special teams. Given the state of our special teams Berger might be a nice addition particularly on kick return teams and bringing the ability to backup Smith at Center would be nice. He’s appeared in 99 games during his NFL career while starting 38 for 3 different teams.