The Buccaneers have basically ignored the second-most important positions on the team, that being the offensive line positions, specifically left tackle.
All true football purists, and those that understand the game and teach it well know that after the quarterback position, Left tackle and the rest of the O-Line are the next most important positions on the team.
You want some of the most talented players in the league along your offensive line. At the heart of all the offense is your line.
They are the beginning- and usually the end- of any success or failure that you are able to achieve. One would think that teams would be trying to get the most talented players to fill those positions.
So where do the Buccaneers fall in at concerning efforts to get the best to fill those all-important slots? Since the organization’s existence, the Bucs have only spent seven first-round picks on offensive lineman.
Three guards, three tackles, and one center is all the Buccaneers could muster in 44 years of drafting. There have been eight offensive lineman taken in the second round in that same time span.
Three of those eight were in years when the Bucs had an extra pick in the second round. Consider this: The Bucs have only taken two left tackles in the first round in the last 30 years and the last one was 19 years ago.
One of those two (Kenyatta Walker) was moved to the right side in year two. Is it any surprise at all that the Buccaneer offensive line has been porous?
Surely, it’s no surprise that the Bucs gave up the most sacks in the NFL in 2019. No shock that the Bucs run game rated very low as well.
It makes no sense to me why a team would go out and spend high picks on skill position players, then turn around and select so-so players in rounds 3 and beyond to make things happen for those skill players.
I have said it for many years.
Until your offensive line players are comparatively equal to your skill position players, your offense will never realize its potential.
It seems to me that if the ownership and general manager of this team wants Jameis Winston to have his best possible chance of succeeding, they would have invested at some point in first-round talent for the offensive line.
By comparison, since 1990 the New England Patriots have taken six offensive lineman in the first round. The Green Bay Packers have taken five in the first round.
Linemen aren’t much fun, they sure aren’t sexy, they don’t do big endorsement deals, or become product spokesman for national brands. They wouldn’t get noticed at all in public if they weren’t so big.
However, linemen are essential, important, and a huge asset. The Buccaneers haven’t had a lineman in the Pro-Bowl since Davin Joseph in 2011, a few years before Jameis Winston even arrived.
So when the Bucs’ first-round selection is made in the 2020 draft, don’t expect it to be one of the big boys. Expect them to continue to ignore the position like they have done for the better part of 30 years.
You expect children to avoid pillow bellies in favor of higher profile positions and players if they were running our draft. You would hope that no matter how boring taking a first-round lineman would be, that football-educated grown men would do the right thing and get some real talent in here.
When I was a child, the offensive linemen in my football card collection ended up on my bike to get the motorcycle sound from the spokes. Basically Tampa Bay has been doing the same thing for a long time.
History tells us there’s not a chance of that happening come April. Maybe One Buc will surprise us this year. Probably not, but I can hope can’t I?