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Combine Preview: Offensive Line

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With the Buccaneers targeting an improved running game in 2019, here are the linemen looking to prove they can help.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of the worst rushing attacks in the National Football League in 2018.

However, there are a lot of positives surrounding the Bucs’ backfield players as more of the blame has been levied on the offensive line.

We’re presuming Peyton Barber will be back (restricted free-agent in 2019), Ronald Jones is looking for a new start in just his second season, and veteran Andre Ellington is now in the building to tie together all of the newness with a player’s brand of experience.

Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet have a full year under their belts playing side-by-side on the Tampa Bay front line. Donovan Smith, another we presume will return, is one year wiser and about to get some new coaching. Demar Dotson is aging but solid, and Caleb Benenoch recently got a vote of confidence from Jensen himself.

Will Jason Licht draft a new starter? Or will he target depth who can help push the development of younger players while providing insurance against the fallibility of the health with older ones?

Hard to imagine the Bucs don’t come away with at least one offensive lineman in their draft class, so let’s take a look at the guys competing to be the one they want the most.

2019 COMBINE OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

NAME SCHOOL
NAME SCHOOL
ZACK BAILEY SOUTH CAROLINA
ALEX BARS NOTRE DAME
RYAN BATES PENN STATE
BEAU BENZSCHAWEL WISONSIN
GARRETT BRADBURY NC STATE
SHAQ CALHOUN MISSISSIPPI STATE
NATE DAVIS NC CHARLOTTE
MICHAEL DEITER WISCONSIN
HJALTE FROHOLDT ARKANSAS
LAMONT GAILLARD GEORGIA
ETHAN GREENIDGE VILLANOVA
PHIL HAYNES WAKE FOREST
NATE HERBIG STANFORD
MARTEZ IVEY FLORIDA
ELGTON JENKINS MISSISSIPPI STATE
FRED JOHNSON FLORIDA
CHRIS LINDSTROM BOSTON COLLEGE
ERIK MCCOY TEXAS A&M
CONNOR MCGOVERN PENN STATE
SUA OPETA WEBER STATE
JAVON PATTERSON MISSISSIPPI
BEN POWERS OKLAHOMA
TREVON TATE MEMPHIS
TACKLES TACKLES
PAUL ADAMS MISSOURI
JACKSON BARTON UTAH
YODNY CAJUSTE WEST VIRGINIA
DENNIS DALEY SOUTH CAROLINA
ANDRE DILLARD WASHINGTON STATE
CHUMA EDOGA USC
DAVID EDWARDS WISCONSIN
BOBBY EVANS OKLAHOMA
CODY FORD OKLAHOMA
DERWIN GRAY MARYLAND
DONNELL GREENE MINNESOTA
TYTUS HOWARD ALABAMA STATE
MITCH HYATT CLEMSON
ANDRE JAMES UCLA
DEVON JOHNSON FERRIS STATE
TYLER JONES NC STATE
MIKE JORDAN OHIO STATE
BRANDON KNIGHT INDIANA
GREG LITTLE MISSISSIPPI
KALEB MCGARY WASHINGTON
JOSHUA MILES MORGAN STATE
YOSH NIJMAN VIRGINIA TECH
ROSS PIERSCHBACHER ALABAMA
TREY PIPKINS SIOUX FALLS
RYAN POPE SAN DIEGO STATE
ISAIAH PRINCE OHIO STATE
DALTON RISNER KANSAS STATE
TYLER ROEMER SAN DIEGO STATE
DRU SAMIA OKLAHOMA
MAX SCHARPING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
WILLIAM SWEET NORTH CAROLINA
JAWAAN TAYLOR FLORIDA
OLI UDOH ELON
JONAH WILLIAMS ALABAMA

BEST IN CLASS: JONAH WILLIAMS, ALABAMA

No surprise here as the Alabama tackle has been the crown jewel of this offensive line group since the NCAA Football season ended.

Williams is 6’5, 297 pounds and played for Alabama as the right and left tackle during his career. Even better, he was successful at both spots.

So, whether you need a right tackle or a left, this guy is on top of your draft board for the position. Even if you may not be targeting one in the first round.

If Williams accepts the inivetable invite he’ll get to sit in the green room at this year’s NFL Draft, he won’t wait long to celebrate his first professional gig and an offensive lineman.

MOST TO PROVE: ANDRE DILLARD, WASHINGTON STATE

Is Andre Dillard a day one or day two prospect? This answer will likely come at the combine and be solidified or further supported at his pro day on April 3rd.

I’m not sold on him as a day one offensive tackle. And I’ve read or heard some other people who aren’t either. If Dillard wants to be gone by the time the first session of the 2019 NFL Draft closes, he’ll need to test well and prove to teams he is the man for the job their looking to hire for.

MOST LIKELY BUCS DRAFT PICK: BEN POWERS, OKLAHOMA

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

If the Bucs don’t go defense with their first three picks, which I’m not sold they won’t just yet, then their priority on offense has to be the offensive line. Specifically, the interior.

More specifically, the right guard, which might leave some confused as to why Powers is the guy I’m identifying here.

While Powers played left guard, and played it well, at Oklahoma it’s not unheard of to move from one side to the other.

He’s not going to come in to the 2019 season expected to take starter reps, which actually lifts some pressure for him to come out and wow right away. Oh, and he has a very solid teammate in Ali Marpet who can give him a few pointers on how to play right guard fairly well.

Powers may or may not like the idea of moving to the right, but he’ll like the idea that he could very well take the reigns of a starting job not solidified by either Benenoch or 2018 draft pick, Alex Cappa.

Tampa Bay will like the idea of throwing one more hat into the ring, and if they can nab him for a third-round pick, he could provide some solid value to a team with a very clear mission up front.

Poll

Where should the Bucs target an offensive lineman?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    First Round
    (30 votes)
  • 58%
    Second Round
    (86 votes)
  • 13%
    Third Round
    (20 votes)
  • 3%
    Fourth Round
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Fifth Round
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Sixth Round
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Seventh Round
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Veteran Free-Agent
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Undrafted Free-Agent
    (0 votes)
147 votes total Vote Now