The Bucs had great success three years ago believing in a small-school offensive lineman and trading up to get Ali Marpet, and there's much the same vibe to Alex Cappa, the team's third-round pick from Division II Humboldt State.
"I love that dude," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said of the 6-foot-6, 305-pound prospect, who will likely get his first look as a guard. "I think Mike Mayock called him a bouncer or something like that. … He's a great guy, our kind of guy. … He's a small-school guy. You have to drive through some Redwood trees like Tony Kinkela, our west coast scout, had to do to get there. It's a long way from San Francisco, but it was worth the trip for him."
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter remembers that trip — he was an assistant coach at San Francisco State with Andy Reid in 1985 and remembers driving there "in a torrential downpour." Like Marpet, he'll have to handle a major transition, but Koetter likes the way he dominated lesser competition with physical play.
"That was cool to see him throwing those guys around in Division II and everything, but that's not like he was playing in the SEC or anything," Koetter said. "He is the right kind of guy. We already saw a guy like Ali make that transition. I'm not saying he's Ali or anything like that, but it can be done."
Like Marpet, Cappa said he felt a strong week at the Senior Bowl helped him show he belongs with competition with top-tier programs. He came out of high school at only 240 pounds with a single scholarship offer, from the Lumberjacks, and didn't miss a game in four years, getting honored as his conference's Lineman of the Year all four years.
"I have no doubts. I think I'm very prepared," Cappa said. "I'm confident, excited. I'm ready to put in the work that it takes."