Image via Buccaneers.com
Ali Marpet, OG
Second round, 61st overall
Ali Marpet is a risk. While the pick doesn’t carry as much as taking Winston first overall, the Marpet selection will be compared to rookie guards, like Utah’s Jeremiah Poutasi and South Carolina’s A.J. Cann, who may have fallen into their laps with the 65th overall pick.
If you look at Marpet’s video at Hobart, it appears that the 6-foot-4, 307-pound offensive lineman was a man against boys. If you look at his performance at the Combine, where he finished as a top performer in the 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle, he looks like a steal late in the second round. But then you realize that Marpet hails from D-III school and those concerns start to creep in again.
Then, Licht speaks on Marpet and puts those fears at ease, albeit temporarily. “Ali has a typical offensive lineman’s mentality we liked in New England,” he told USA TODAY. “He just looks like an offensive lineman, like a young Logan Mankins. He’s super athletic. And above the neck, he’s really smart, really humble and a hard worker.” The comparison to an accomplished guard like Mankins is definitely welcomed, but is it warranted? Much like Donovan Smith, we will not really know until he gets matched up against the Buccaneers’ skilled defensive tackles, Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald and Henry Melton.
For now, all we can say is that Marpet has all the necessary tools to become an offensive guard for years to come. And similar to Donovan’s situation, Lovie plans to throw Ali into the fire by having him compete for the starting right guard spot. “It (moving to NFL from Div. III) is definitely a big difference, especially the size and speed. I had a little taste of that in the Senior Bowl. It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but I think I can adjust to it,” he said, according to Bradenton.com. “Guard is a new position for me, but I am excited to play it. I think that’s my best opportunity to make the team better.”