With the Ryan Jensen injury taking it’s toll on the Buccaneers locker room, let’s take a look at our most likely internal candidate to replace him.
Sure, Tampa could go out and sign a litany of other players to try to fill the void…. but do they need to with their recent investment at the position?
Robert Hainsey was a third round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame.
Taken in the same draft as Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Kyle Trask, Hainsey is in the same boat as those two more well-known players….. he’s still developing.
Aside from adjusting to the pro game, Hainsey is also adjusting to a new position. Although he has converted to the center position in Tampa, Hainsey played at the tackle position in college.
Tampa likely made this decision because of Hainey’s intelligence on the line and his leadership ability as a two-time captain.
Hainsey has good size and strength, but could often get beat by quicker defenders on the outside, so the move to the inside will likely do well. Hainsey’s speed may somewhat limit his ability to be successful on any run plays that require him to pull out and hit a defender in the flats, however, Tampa does not run a scheme that would make that extremely necessary anyways.
Where Hainsey excels is showing very strong technique in pass protection and being a high-effort impact blocker in the run game. Hainsey is an extremely smart guy, and that shows up in his play as he is not often fooled by complex blitz schemes, and can often counter more well developed pass rush strategies. This should really help him diagnose what the defense is trying to do from the center position and should allow him to help mask the loss of the high level of communication that Ryan Jensen brings to our offensive line.
Notre Dame has a history of producing solid offensive lineman, and Hainsey played at a very high level there. The Bucs should be confident in what they have.
While I know there are some really good free agent options available, I say that we give the kid a chance to prove that he can be in the mix for our offensive line in the future. He has played OT, and has shown the versatility to play guard and center, so if he can play at a high level that gives us someone that we can use ANYWHERE on the Offensive Line down the road….. Let’s see what we’ve got!
Want to write about the Buccaneers? Apply below!
Want your voice heard? Join the The Pewter Plank team!