The Buccaneers signed Evan Dietrich-Smith in 2014 and he’s been, well, disappointing. Last season, the Bucs brought in former Falcons center Joe Hawley who filled in quite nicely. It seems Hawley is more than likely going to keep his starting spot, but that’s not to say Smith won’t put up a fight.
Now that he is healthy, Smith is going to do everything he can to earn his starting spot back. At the same time, Smith filled in some at right guard, so his versatility is an added bonus. Second year guard Ali Marpet has also taken snaps as center, but that is more of a depth and versatility move than it is Marpet being a legitimate starting center candidate, in 2016 at least.
The offensive line really began to gel nicely as 2015 wound down and Hawley was a big part of that. He brings a nastiness, an attitude you want out of your offensive linemen and he certainly isn’t afraid to go after any and everyone who may try to take a shot at his quarterback. Nothing against Smith, but this team appeared far more effective with Hawley in the middle.
So there you have it, Buccaneers fans. I have looked into the crystal ball and discovered the week one starters who will emerge from the biggest position battles of this year’s training camp. Who do you want to see in the starting lineup when the Bucs travel to Atlanta to kick off the season?