The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ trade for Gabe Carimi this weekend seemed to be a perfect fit for the Bucs. Bringing in an offensive lineman with potential to provide competition and depth at the cost of just a sixth round pick seems like a no-brainer, and Mark Dominik continues to prove that he’s willing to shop for bargains and bring in players with healthy concerns that could overcome them and be worth several times the cost to acquire them. But it also reveals something else about Dominik.
He’s not very interested in drafting offensive linemen.
This tweet from an NFC East blogger is really quite revealing about the Buccaneers’ GM:
— Jimmy Kempski (@Jimmy_Beast) June 10, 2013
That last offensive lineman he drafted? Xavier Fulton in 2009. And before that, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Zuttah are the only success stories of the offensive linemen drafted by the Bucs’ organization for quite a long time. There are more Arron Sears and Kenyatta Walker type of picks than strong picks to help the franchise move forward on the offensive line. That’s why neither tackle on the team’s current depth chart was drafted at all, and why Carl Nicks was offered a massive paycheck to come anchor the left side of the line last offseason. Carimi’s move to Tampa Bay is just further proof that Mark Dominik would rather work the wire to pick up his offensive linemen, because it’s a position with massive bust potential. A bad offensive line can have dangerous consequences for the rest of a team, so this is one area where the Buccaneers appear content to seek out competition from free agency and trades rather than the NFL Draft.
And with an eye for talent like Dotson, Penn, and now hopefully Carimi, it’s not an awful idea. Penn isn’t the perfect left tackle, nor is Dotson the perfect right tackle. But for a pair of undrafted rookies, they have outperformed their initial expectations by being slated as starting tackles for an NFL franchise that is going to run the football fairly often. And the trade for Gabe Carimi provides a player with a ton of upside, upside which could even include a starting position in the future, should he overcome his injury concerns and develop more consistency.
So Mark Dominik knows his own strengths and weaknesses. Trading away a sixth round pick for an offensive lineman helps him two-fold. He gets rid of a sixth round pick, which is something he struggles to turn into value. It also provides him an offensive lineman that he feels can develop into a good value for a very minimal outlay. So the Buccaneers’ GM just adds another trait to his constantly evolving resume, and one that could pay off for the Buccaneers, or could leave them in a bad situation in the trenches in a few years.