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
|ZACK BAILEY||SOUTH CAROLINA|
|ALEX BARS||NOTRE DAME|
|RYAN BATES||PENN STATE|
|GARRETT BRADBURY||NC STATE|
|SHAQ CALHOUN||MISSISSIPPI STATE|
|NATE DAVIS||NC CHARLOTTE|
|PHIL HAYNES||WAKE FOREST|
|ELGTON JENKINS||MISSISSIPPI STATE|
|CHRIS LINDSTROM||BOSTON COLLEGE|
|ERIK MCCOY||TEXAS A&M|
|CONNOR MCGOVERN||PENN STATE|
|SUA OPETA||WEBER STATE|
|YODNY CAJUSTE||WEST VIRGINIA|
|DENNIS DALEY||SOUTH CAROLINA|
|ANDRE DILLARD||WASHINGTON STATE|
|TYTUS HOWARD||ALABAMA STATE|
|DEVON JOHNSON||FERRIS STATE|
|TYLER JONES||NC STATE|
|MIKE JORDAN||OHIO STATE|
|JOSHUA MILES||MORGAN STATE|
|YOSH NIJMAN||VIRGINIA TECH|
|TREY PIPKINS||SIOUX FALLS|
|RYAN POPE||SAN DIEGO STATE|
|ISAIAH PRINCE||OHIO STATE|
|DALTON RISNER||KANSAS STATE|
|TYLER ROEMER||SAN DIEGO STATE|
|MAX SCHARPING||NORTHERN ILLINOIS|
|WILLIAM SWEET||NORTH CAROLINA|
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
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.
Where should the Bucs target an offensive lineman?
This poll is closed