Gerald McCoy: Ali Marpet can become 'a dominant center'
Lots of news to come from One Buc Place on Monday, but we talked to defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for the first time since the Bucs said they'll be experimenting with guard Ali Marpet at center this spring. McCoy goes up against him in practice every day, so he was asked how well Marpet might handle the transition to center for his third NFL season.
"Just from my analysis, I think Ali is a great guard. I think he'll be a dominant, like next-level center in my personal opinion," McCoy said. "He's a small-space guy, and you get him in a small space, you're in trouble. From here to here is all a center needs, and from here to here, with how athletic he is, he's got these grippers (where) once he puts his hands on you, you're in trouble. I truly believe, and you can stamp this and quote it: I believe Ali Marpet will be a dominant -- not good -- dominant center.
"He's so athletic. He can pull. He can make all the blocks. He's highly intelligent, very intelligent. You need a general in the middle. He's always on the go, only knows one speed. And when your center's going one speed, and you partner that with 3 (Jameis Winston), that offense is going to roll. Whoever they put there, it's not my call ... I think he'd be a dominant center."
Marpet hasn't snapped in a game in college or the pros, but will get a look at center this spring after playing right guard throughout his two seasons with the Bucs. Tampa Bay also has last year's starter back in Joe Hawley, as well as veteran Evan Smith, who started games at guard and center last season.