It should be no surprise there is a focus on the trenches for the Buccaneers heading into this draft season.
The team was bad up front. Despite what coach Dirk Koetter said in calling his offensive line one in the top half of the NFL, the goal should certainly be Top-10 or Top-5, right?
Speculation has been abundant about the team potentially reaching into the draft for a lineman, most often an interior offensive one.
Here are three guys to keep an early eye on.
Guard, Quenton Nelson – Notre Dame
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Rarely is your guard going to be sprinting 40-yards down field. However, he is going to need to get out of his stance and pull on outside runs or get to the next level ahead of the back. The best ones will even become lead blockers ten yards down field when the opportunity arises.
Don’t worry about Nelson’s full time. Look for his 10-yard split and see if he gets a clean start. Fluid transfer of power from his lower extremities converting into speed once he comes up will be a solid indicator of his ability to get out as a lead blocker on those frustrating sweeps and outside runs.
Center, Billy Price – Ohio State
Price has a solid amount of talent, and his stock is going to benefit from the fact he replaced a guy at Ohio State who started fourteen games as a rookie for the Minnesota Vikings.
Pat Elfein is who he replaced, and like him, Price started 55 straight games for the Buckeyes in Columbus.
There’s no doubt the young man has the mental ability to be successful, the physical attributes should all be there too.
However, if there’s some underlying injury he was able to cover up then it may raise concerns with teams like the Buccaneers.
Offensive Tackle, Mike McGlinchey – Notre Dame
For the record, I’m no Notre Dame homer. And I’m not from Indiana, so there’s that.
There’s no denying though, two of the top offensive linemen in this year’s draft are coming out of South Bend.
McGlinchey is athletic and talented. However, is he strong enough to hold up on the edge? That’s what teams need to find out.
His broad jump needs to be good. Like Top-5 good, if not better.
He projects as a right tackle which might hurt his stock as well as teams put a premium on blind side offensive tackles, and there just aren’t that many lefties out there leading NFL teams.
A substandard bench could drop him to the second-round where it just so happens the Buccaneers might be in the market for a talented right tackle who may need a year to fully mature into a starter.