2021 NFL Draft: IOL not an early need for the Buccaneers
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers don’t have many needs in the 2021 NFL Draft, and IOL certainly isn’t one of them.
It would absolutely help for the Buccaneers to target an interior offensive lineman in one of the middle to late rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, but spending a pick on a player like this in one of the early rounds is an enormous waste.
The Bucs already have one of the best offensive lines in football. Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs played great on the ends during the second half of the season and the playoffs, and the interior of the line is one of the best in the NFL.
Ali Marpet is a top-3 guard in the NFL, Ryan Jensen is in the same category at center, and Alex Cappa is emerging as a bonafide starter. Shaking this group up now, especially with quarterback Tom Brady staying put, looks like a questionable decision.
The Buccaneers don’t need massive change in the 2021 NFL Draft
If the Bucs were to spend a first-round pick on IOL, that would indicate that they are preparing to move on from Cappa or Jensen immediately, but it could also happen after this season. Losing either player would be a mistake, especially with the chemistry starting to build, but keeping them both would mean that a rookie sits on the bench all year with almost no snaps.
Either way, this feels like a waste of capital this season. If the line isn’t broken, why fix it? This is a top-five unit when healthy, and moving on from anyone, even for money, opens the door for disaster with the immobile Brady in the pocket.
The Buccaneers need to keep their line the exact same if they want to continue winning with Brady, and the interior makes even less sense to replace. Alex Cappa and Ryan Jensen have earned extensions and need to return long-term at the conclusion of this season.
There may be some decent rookies at the top of the class for the Bucs to look at, but none of them justify an early pick after the offensive line performance from 2020.
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