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Thursday, Dec 18, 2014

Bucs draft analysis: Offensive line

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Published:   |   Updated: April 19, 2013 at 11:19 PM

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The Buccaneers have eight selections in the NFL draft, including the No. 13 overall pick. The draft, to be held April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, features seven rounds and 254 total picks, including a handful of compensatory picks. The Bucs have two choices in the fourth and sixth rounds, but do not have a seventh-round selection. For eight consecutive days, the Tampa Tribune will analyze the team's needs at each of eight positions.
 
Today, we look at offensive line.
 
The Bucs have arguably the best offensive line in team history and potentially the best in the league. It is comprised of three former Pro Bowl players in guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks and left tackle Donald Penn, plus solid starters in center Jeremy Zuttah and right tackle Demar Dotson.
 
Tampa Bay has adequate depth in guard/center Ted Larsen and tackle/guard Jamon Meredith. The only real problem is that Dotson is not quite what teams look for in a run blocker, which robs Tampa Bay of a quality swing tackle option.
 
There's a chance the Bucs will use the draft to upgrade here, particularly at the tackle position.
 
 
On the Bucs' roster
 
 
Pos.
 Player
 Ht.
 Wt.
 Age
 Yrs
G
 Roger Allen
 6-3
 325
 27
 3
T
 Demar Dotson
 6-9
 319
 27
 4
T
 Derek Hardman
 6-6
 300
 26
 3
G
 Davin Joseph
 6-3
 315
 29
 7
C/G
 Ted Larsen
 6-3
 305
 25
 3
T
 Jamon Meredith
 6-5
 312
 26
 4
G
 Carl Nicks
 6-5
 349
 27
 5
T
 Donald Penn
 6-5
 340
 29
 7
T
 Mike Remmers
 6-5
 303
 24
 1
C/G
 Cody Wallace
 6-4
 300
 28
 1
G
 Desmond Wynn
 6-6
 303
 24
 1
C/G
 Jeremy Zuttah
 6-4
 308
 26
 5
 
 
Remaining NFL free agents
  
Pos.
 Player
 Ht.
 Wt.
 Age
 Yrs
T
 Jared Gaither
 6-3
 335
 27
 6
T
 Andre Smith
 6-4
 335
 26
 4
T
 Eric Winston
 6-7
 309
 29
 7
 
 
Dream pick
 
Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
 
 
Joeckel has everything a team wants in a starting left tackle. He's big (6-6, 303 pounds), athletic and technically sound. He has tremendous footwork, plays smooth and is versatile enough to start immediately, no matter the system. There's a chance he will be the first pick overall, as scouts project him playing for at least the next eight to 10 years and quickly developing into a Pro Bowl player.
 
Hidden gem
 

Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
 

If the Bucs are looking for a future right tackle, they might consider spending a fifth- or sixth-round pick on Wagner. He has size and toughness, and Tampa Bay knows him well. Wagner played three seasons for current Bucs offensive line coach Bob Bostad at the University of Wisconsin. Wagner might not be ready to step in immediately as a starting right tackle, but he could develop into their best option.
 
Bucs history
 

The Bucs have done a better job in recent years finding linemen outside the draft. Though they hit on Davin Joseph (first round, 2006) and Jeremy Trueblood (second round, 2006), the bulk of their linemen were acquired through free agency, waiver claims and practice-squad signings. The Bucs have drafted top linemen in their past, grabbing tackle Paul Gruber with the first pick in 1988, center Tony Mayberry with a fourth-round pick in 1990 and tackle Charles McRae with a first-round pick in 1991. For the most part, though, the early-round linemen the Bucs selected (see Kenyatta Walker) struggled to justify the team's selection.
 
The schedule


Wednesday
 Quarterback
Today
 Offensive line
Friday
 Linebacker
Saturday
 Running back
Sunday
 Defensive end
Monday
 Receiver/tight end
Tuesday
 Defensive tackle
Wednesday
 Defensive back

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