Buccaneers: Underrated hero for the offense in 2021

Donovan Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Donovan Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Buccaneers fans need to acknowledge Donovan Smith’s emergence as one of the best tackles in the NFL.

The Buccaneers have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and there really aren’t any weak links. The line’s interior has two of the best linemen in the NFL in Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet, but the outside is the group that gets the attention.

Offensive tackle is the second most important position on that side of the ball. A good set of tackles makes any quarterback’s life substantially easier, and the Bucs are fortunate to have one of the best duos in the NFL right now.

Tristan Wirfs has drawn mountains of praise over the past two seasons, but Donovan Smith deserves much more attention than he receives.

While Wirfs is the player that lives in the All-Pro or Pro Bowl conversation, Smith has established himself as one of the best pass-blocking tackles in the NFL, which, if we’re being honest, matters far more than the ability to succeed in the run game.

Teams need to be able to pass far more than they need to be able to run, and the Bucs have been able to succeed so much with the pass in large part due to how well the line has done in protecting Brady.

The offense hasn’t been perfect so far this season, but the ability of the line and the quarterback to be on the same wavelength has helped to mitigate the sack rate and keep Brady’s jersey clean.

After years of hearing some fans talk about Smith’s underperformance, perhaps it is time to think that perhaps the quarterback was to blame for the numerous sacks that occurred before the Brady transition rather than placing the blame purely on Smith.

One way or another, the numbers clearly back up that Donovan Smith has emerged as one of the best tackles in the NFL, and the Bucs need to focus on keeping their offensive line intact with the duo of Smith and Wirfs if they hope to keep the offensive success going.

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