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Bucs draft preview: Offensive linemen

Jake Long, tackle, from Michigan,

Getty Images

Jake Long, tackle, from Michigan,

For bucs draft news and updates, go to bucs.tampabay.com

Bucs Draft 2008, When: Saturday (Rounds 1-2) and Sunday (Rounds 3-7)

Bucs picks (round-overall): 1-20, 2-52, 3-83, 4-120, 5-154, 6-none (Michael Bennett trade), 7-none (Jake Plummer trade)

Top 10 offensive linemen

Jake Long, Tackle, 6-7, 315, Michigan

It's great to be Jake these days.

He can go to sleep Friday evening knowing his name will be the first uttered by commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday.

Equally comforting for Long will be the satisfaction that comes from having already signed a $57.5-million contract that includes $30-million in guarantees for the man the Dolphins will make the draft's No. 1 pick.

"It won't be stressful, I guess, " Long said during a news conference this week. "That will be nice."

No, the only stress Long can look forward to is the kind associated with improving a team coming off an NFL-worst 1-15 record. It's no surprise the Dolphins started that process by addressing their woeful offensive line.

"We feel like he has all the qualities that we're looking for in our linemen, " coach Tony Sparano said. "He's very tough. He's smart, and he's disciplined. I think those are the qualities that you need to have to develop what will at some point be a very good offensive lineman down the road."

2, Branden Albert, Tackle, 6-6, 309, Virginia

Athletic former basketball player who has a resume strikingly similar to another Cavalier tackle, the Jets' D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

3, Ryan Clady, Tackle, 6-6, 316, Boise State

Well-built with long arms and reach that allow him to engage defenders; is considered very quick off the ball.

4, Jeff Otah, Tackle, 6-6, 340, Pittsburgh

Given his massive size, should be quite effective in the running game, however, lacks ideal mobility.

5, Gosder Cherilus, Tackle, 6-7, 315, Boston College

Has exceptional height and a long wingspan; will be tested against speedy NFL edge rushers.

6, Chris Williams, Tackle, 6-6, 315, Vanderbilt

Is considered very good against speed rushers because of his finesse, however, lacks a power game.

7, Chilo Rachal, Guard, 6-5, 315, USC

Consensus is he left school too early and lacks technique; needs seasoning as a run blocker.

8, Sam Baker, Tackle, 6-5, 312, USC

Will be a candidate to move to an interior position given his build; future will depend on team's needs.

9, Duane Brown, Tackle, 6-4, 315, Virginia Tech

The former tight end has rare athleticism but will likely miss out on the first round because of inconsistency.

10, Mike Pollak, Tackle, 6-4, 299, Arizona State

Has extensive experience with 36 starts but figures to be downgraded because of a lack of quickness.

Thumbs up

Branden
Albert, Tackle,
6-6, 309, Virginia

He was originally projected as a guard, but his short stint as a left tackle last season changed many minds as he now is considered a tackle prospect; that's, by far, the more coveted position.

Thumbs down

Sam Baker,
Tackle, 6-5, 312, USC

Had a high profile because of his team's success, but his stock has been slipping due to concerns about his measurables and perceived lack of strength; was once believed to be a first-round pick, now likely to go in Round 2.

Under the radar

John Greco,
Guard, 6-5, 320, Toledo

Projects as a guard but has tons of experience at left tackle, giving him versatility; very experienced after 49 consecutive starts, 36 coming at left tackle. Should be a mid round pick.



GM Bruce Allen's scorecard

Allen's success rate has gotten better with time. Earlier in his tenure, the Bucs swung and missed with fifth-round guard Jeb Terry in 2004 and third-round tackle Chris Colmer in 2005. The latter ended his career during a battle with Parsonage-Turner Syndrome. Dan Buenning, drafted in the fifth round in 2005, hasn't been a factor in some time and has no defined position.

But with 2006 came the additions of guard Davin Joseph and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood in the first and second rounds, respectively, and they have become cornerstones of an offensive line that is finally beginning to take shape.

Arron Sears, a second-round pick last year, figures to be a longtime starter at left guard.

IMPACT ON THE BUCS

Tampa Bay's biggest offseason move thus far came on the offensive line: the signing of center Jeff Faine to one of the richest contracts in team history. That addressed one of the team's most glaring needs, and the other four starters return. But there are areas where depth might be added. Guard is a position where the Bucs might look to make a pick in the later rounds, and you can be sure they will sign several offensive linemen who go undrafted.

Stephen F. Holder, Times staff writer

Bucs draft preview: Offensive linemen 04/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 10:17am]
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