Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Offensive line should be NFL’s best

Ryan Jensen, Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ryan Jensen, Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers running it back with the NFL’s best roster has them set as heavy favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions. They are the first defending champions to return all 22 starters (and some change). One unit in particular, the offensive line, should also be considered the best in the NFL.

The offensive line of the Buccaneers were among the best in 2020, and should be even better in 2021. The offensive line and quarterback work hand-in-hand, the line protects the quarterback and make him look good. Conversely, the quarterback, in this case being the greatest of all time in Tom Brady, make the offensive line look better as he’s able to get the ball out super quickly. Thus, it limits the amount of hits and sacks he takes, and one of the few stats offensive linemen have going for them look fantastic on the sheet.

Perhaps the most shocking part about the Bucs’ offensive line, is that none of them have made a Pro Bowl. That will almost certainly change starting this season. This unit not only has Pro Bowl potential, but All-Pro potential.

To start we have the twin towers of small colleges at the two guard spots. Ali Marpet of Hobart College and Humboldt State’s Alex Cappa form one of the best guard tandems in all of football, and at least one should hear their name called come Pro Bowl time. Cappa was one of the leading fan vote-getters in his position in 2020, and it really is tragic that injury forced him out of playing in the Super Bowl. Marpet is an absolute stud and the unsung hero and key to this offense that makes it go.

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At tackle, Tristan Wirfs is entering his sophomore season and is already arguably the best at his position of right tackle, Wirfs not making the Pro Bowl in 2020 may have just been biased against a rookie, because nothing else makes much sense. At the other tackle is Donovan Smith. Smith had something of an up and down 2020 at the blind side, such as been the tale in his career thus far, but really came on strong down the stretch and had a solid playoff performance. He was rewarded with a two-year contract extension worth $31.8 million this offseason. Hopefully he continues on his upward trajectory.

Rounding out the line we have the center. Since coming over from the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent, the versatile Ryan Jensen has found a home at center and been an absolute rock. He has formed a bond with Brady despite some rough patches in the beginning.

It’s easy to see why this unit is such a strong one. They really don’t have what one would call a “weak link”. All five have star potential, and will be one of the major keys in the Buccaneers getting back to the promised land. The team with the best roster of the best team will feature the best offensive line.

Next. Why Wirfs is NFL’s best RT. dark