Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft preview: Offensive linemen

RECOMMENDED READING


The situation

If there's one unit the Bucs feel good about, it's offensive line. Three of their starters have been to the Pro Bowl, now that the unit has been bolstered by Saints free agent guard Carl Nicks. Along with right guard Davin Joseph, the Bucs arguably have the best pair of guards in the league.

The whole interior of the offensive line is a strength when you factor in center Jeremy Zuttah, the recipient of a contract extension and the successor to longtime center Jeff Faine, who has been released. Zuttah is considered a more natural center than guard, after playing mostly the latter.

At left tackle, Donald Penn returns after regressing a bit last season, perhaps because of an ongoing weight issue. But he still is considered the answer at the critical position that protects the blindside of quarterback Josh Freeman.

Right tackle Jeremy Trueblood is in a contract year, and the team's decision on keeping him beyond 2012 likely depends on how he performs in the fall.

The team has some key backups, including Ted Larsen of Palm Harbor. He essentially takes over the role often held by Zuttah in recent seasons, the primary backup for all three interior positions.

Tackles Demar Dotson and Derek Hardman are the next two linemen in the pecking order and could battle in camp to decide who is first off the bench.

What they're looking for

The Bucs don't figure to look for offensive line help in the early rounds. But depth and competition are essential up front, and the team is always looking for good offensive line pickups.

Judging by the vibes from players and coaches, the team will lean toward tough, run-blocking types.

Fitting the bill

A possible middle-round choice who is regarded for his toughness and run blocking is Auburn tackle Brandon Mosley. He has played left and right tackle, but could play on the right in the NFL.

While not necessarily the ideal fit for the team, Rutgers guard Desmond Wynn was recruited by and played for Bucs coach Greg Schiano in college. Wynn started 25 straight games for the Scarlet Knights.

The top 10

1. Matt Kalil 6-6½, 305, USC (tackle)The nation's top lineman plays the line's most important position. Older brother Ryan is the Panthers' starting center.
2. David DeCastro 6-5, 316, Stanford (guard)Uses impressive upper-body strength to drive defenders backward. Also has a quick jump off the ball.
3. Riley Reiff 6-6, 313, Iowa (tackle)Excellent footwork and technique makes him versatile enough to play on either side of the line in the league.
4. Mike Adams 6-7, 323, Ohio State (tackle)A good athlete for his size and is particularly nimble. His injury history is a bit of a question.
5. Jonathan Martin 6-5, 312, Stanford (tackle)A powerful run blocker who played in a potent, pro-style offense. Could be ready to play immediately.
6. Cordy Glenn 6-5, 345, Georgia (guard/tackle)Considered a "tweener" because he has played both guard and tackle in college and because his weight might be a problem at tackle.
7. Bobby Massie 6-6, 316, Mississippi (tackle)A good athlete with good feet. A three-year starter who uses his size well to overwhelm opponents physically.
8. Peter Konz 6-5, 314, Wisconsin (center)The elite player at his position, he could play immediately. Considered a very effective run blocker.
9. Kevin Zeitler 6-4, 314, Wisconsin (guard)Known to finish his blocks well. Also capable of taking on linebackers down the field.
10. Amini Silatolu 6-4, 311, Midwestern State (tackle/guard)Played tackle in college but is a projected guard as a pro. Battled knee and hamstring injuries during his senior season.

Best guess

The Bucs aren't likely to select an offensive lineman in the early rounds unless a premier player — like Kalil — unexpectedly falls to them. It's more likely they will look for later-round steals to augment what they currently have.

Stephen F. Holder, Times staff writer

Comments
Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

TAMPA ó The Bucs face the defending NFC champions twice in their final six games. As they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is enjoying quite a two-week run.Clayborn, 29, had six sacks Nov. 12 in a ...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA ó Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sundayís game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

The Bucs face the Falcons twice in their final six games, and as they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn has had a nice two-week run.Clayborn had a huge game nine days ago with six sacks in a win aga...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman says itís another week without Jameis Winston as the Bucs prepare to go to Atlanta, and thereís more on the Bucsí run-game issues and how the defense has struggled on third and long, a situation most defenses love to be i...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones debunk the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories as he will miss a third consecutive game this weekend in Atlanta.The guys explain that Winstonís absence is purely medical and has nothing to do with the...
Published: 11/21/17
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martinís not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martinís not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA ó RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sundayís win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his teamís struggles running the ball shouldnít go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason weíre not mo...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Debunking some theories about why the Bucs are keeping Jameis Winston on the shelf

Debunking some theories about why the Bucs are keeping Jameis Winston on the shelf

TAMPA — The Bucs are sticking with Ryan Two and Oh Fitzpatrick at quarterback for Sunday’s game in Atlanta. But this isn’t a case of just riding the guy who has the cool head and hot hand. Doctors would not clear starter Jameis Wi...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Fennelly: Hope glimmering through the gloom of Bucsí season

Fennelly: Hope glimmering through the gloom of Bucsí season

ST. PETERSBURG ó It isnít easy avoiding The Jameis Winston mess.But itís worth a try. If only to see some thin shafts of light.Itís worth considering that the 2017 Bucs, their death certificate already signed, have shown signs of life. Okay, near lif...
Published: 11/20/17
WR Bernard Reedy, cut by Bucs, signing to Patriotsí practice squad

WR Bernard Reedy, cut by Bucs, signing to Patriotsí practice squad

Former Lakewood star Bernard Reedy, waived by the Bucs on Friday, cleared waivers on Monday and will be signing on Tuesday to join the New England Patriots' practice squad.Reedy, 25, handled all the Bucs' punt and kickoff returns in the first nine ga...
Published: 11/20/17
Bucs QB Jameis Winston not medically cleared to throw; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start again

Bucs QB Jameis Winston not medically cleared to throw; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start again

Doctors would not clear Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to begin throwing after an evaluation of his shoulder injury Monday and he could miss one or two more weeks.The Bucs have gone 2-0 under backup Ryan Fitzpatrick since Winston was shut down to gi...
Published: 11/20/17