Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft breakdown: offensive line

The situation

One of the strengths of the Bucs is their offensive line. At least that was the perception before last season. But starting left guard Arron Sears missed 2009 with personal problems, and it's unknown whether he will return to form. His backup, Jeremy Zuttah, struggled in his first full year as a starter. And both offensive tackles, Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood, will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Penn, who has dropped 35 pounds, is dissatisfied that the Bucs have not signed him to a contract extension and has hinted that he might ask for a trade. On the positive side, the offensive linemen should be helped by not being asked to lose weight this season. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson uses fewer zone-blocking concepts than his predecessor, Jeff Jagodzinski. Remember: The Bucs have franchise quarterback Josh Freeman to protect and can't be certain Penn will return. Left tackles carry a high value in the draft, so it's a position the Bucs could address early.

What they're looking for

Freeman hopes to be under center in Tampa Bay for the next 10 years, so it would help to have a young left tackle to take his mind off the pass rush. Failing that, a left guard or right tackle would be a bonus because the Bucs have little depth at those positions.

Fitting the bill

Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung should be on the board when the Bucs select No. 3 overall, and depending on what happens above them, he is a bigger option than most probably believe. But if the Bucs go in another direction, they can use help at almost any position, including a road-grader like Idaho guard Mike Iupati.

Top 10 prospects

PLAYER, VITAL STATS COMMENT
Russell Okung T, 6-5, 305, Oklahoma State Lions are considering him at No. 2.
Bryan Bulaga T, 6-6, 314, Iowa Big Ten offensive lineman of the year.
Trent Williams T, 6-5, 316, Oklahoma Could be a better right tackle in NFL.
Mike Iupati G, 6-5, 331, Idaho Top-rated guard in draft.
Anthony Davis T, 6-5, 323, Rutgers Huge upside but battled weight problems.
Maurkice Pouncey C, 6-4½, 304, Florida Gators center could also play guard.
Charles Brown T, 6-5, 303, USC Converted tight end visited Bucs.
Bruce Campbell T, 6-6, 314, Maryland Started just 17 games in college.
Vladimir Ducasse T, 6-5, 330, UMass Haiti native took up football in 2002.
Rodger Saffold T, 6-5, 318, Indiana Started 41 games at left tackle.

Best guess

The Bucs will likely have a shot at one of the draft's premier defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, with the No. 3 pick. If that's the case, expect them to take the defensive lineman. But if both are gone, the decision will be between Okung and Tennessee safety Eric Berry. If USC tackle Charles Brown is still available late in the first round, the Bucs could package some picks together and make a move to grab him.

Correction: Russell Okung played for Oklahoma State. Another school was listed in an earlier version of this story.

Rick Stroud, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft breakdown: offensive line 04/16/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 17, 2010 12:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida beats LSU, wins first College World Series title

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Florida scored four runs in the eighth inning to pull away from LSU, and the Gators beat their SEC rival 6-1 Tuesday night to complete a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals for their first national title in baseball.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five after a run scores.
  2. As NCAA investigation continues, Baylor dances around sex-assault scandal

    College

    In 1996, Southern Baptist-affiliated Baylor University lifted its 151-year-old ban and allowed dancing on its Waco, Texas campus.

  3. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.