Buccaneers must select offensive left tackle in first round

After another year of Jameis Winston running for his life, and being sacked 46 times it’s time for the Buccaneers to address the offensive line in the first round.

It’s time to stop putting it off.  In the last 28 years, the Buccaneers have drafted maybe the most important position after quarterback (offensive left tackle), only twice in the first round. Those two were Charles McRae in 1991, and Kenyatta Walker in 2001.

Most football purists, and those knowledgeable in the fundamentals, and the inner workings of the game know full on well. The red-headed stepchild of the game is the offensive line.

Normally they are not pretty, they possess no flash or flare. Almost never score any points. They are rarely singled out and interviewed after a game, you don’t often see them doing commercials of any kind nationally, and probably locally just car lots, and rent all centers commercials.

They don’t have a host of fancy stat categories. They are the blue collar get down and dirty foundation of your offense. If things are not well up front the problems will show their heads in many areas.

Receivers don’t have time to finish routes, quarterback is flushed from making a standing strong, feet planted, pocket, rocket throw. Running backs have no open lanes, are hit in the backfield. Takes away the quarterbacks rhythm, forcing  early, errant throws. Allows penetration on Winston’s blind side, makes forced fumbles more likely. On and on it goes.

No matter what the QB situation is, Left Tackle should be the first pick.

Everything else from the snap of the ball is secondary to protecting the quarterback, or opening a run lane and providing the time for the runner to get to it. Following that necessary line of thought. Why would you take your best skill players in the first round, but not your Linemen?

Until your Offensive players are as good comparatively to your skill position players your offense will never reach it’s potential. A good portion of your fanbase thinks an offensive lineman taken in the first round or two is a wasted pick. To the contrary, it’s the best move a team can make for their offense.

I believe that a good portion of Winston’s interceptions were caused by bad line play, and the fact Winston doesn’t have much faith in his line. You won’t hear him say that, but it’s what I believe. If the Buccaneers make a big commitment to Jameis Winston, which it is rumored that they will.

They cannot afford to not upgrade the offensive line, and I don’t mean later rounds, or even round two. If they won’t make the investment in draft picks to ensure their quarterback is protected, than they should never invest the cash in his contract, or any other quarterback signing.

The position has been neglected for far too long. The last several years the Buccaneers have been handing out big contracts to what amounts to an average left tackle, and right tackle. They did this because what they had was better than anything they thought they could get.

For almost 30 years, covering several GM’s, and many Coaches, the offensive line has been neglected

Had they been drafting offensive lineman every few years at high draft positions this wouldn’t be the case. It’s bad enough when the fans don’t get how important the Offensive line is. When the GM and coaches don’t get it, it can doom you to being a lesser team than you could be for a long time.

And it’s not just one GM or a couple coaches, this has been going on for a long time in Tampa. The no love, no respect to the positions has got to stop, and stop this year!!! If they drafted for the offensive line like they did defense, and defensive back, we would have a much better than average O-Line. One that could dictate the line of scrimmage most of the time.

We need players on the line that can run block as well as pass protect. We need some studs up there that can crack some heads. This team has got to become more willing to run the ball. Taking pressure off of Winston is very important. He doesn’t have to do it all, we have a franchise back in Jones, use him.

Here’s hoping we go offensive left tackle, a versatile one with the 14th pick. Anything less is drafting irrresponsibly.