One of the positions that many believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will address this offseason is left tackle, where the Buccaneers have Donald Penn, who is aging and declining in skill. The NFL Draft presents an opportunity to upgrade at this position, but there’s a new rumor that links the Buccaneers to a free agent tackle, and it doesn’t make much sense.
Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reports a rumor that the Bucs would be interested in Branden Albert, a left tackle most recently with Kansas City. Albert turns 30 this season, and has only played 16 games in a season once in his NFL career.
Furthermore, Albert finished only two spots ahead of Donald Penn on Pro Football Focus’ tackle rankings, and committed more penalties while turning in worse grades as a run blocker. Albert was superior as a pass protector, but that one trait shouldn’t be enough to ditch Penn and sign a player of similar age with a history of injuries.
The Buccaneers will need a new left tackle eventually, but adding a 30-year old who struggles to stay on the field is a very short-term solution to a long-term problem. If the Buccaneers don’t spend their first pick on a quarterback, they will likely consider a tackle to replace Penn. Left tackle is not a sexy position, but it’s important, and the Buccaneers will want to protect whoever is under center in 2014 and beyond as well as they can.
Pauline reports that the Dolphins are also interested in Albert, and that makes more sense, considering that the team has plenty of issues on the offensive line that need to be addressed, whether it’s talent related or bullying related.