NFL analyst calls out Buccaneers offensive lineman as 'a major problem'

It's not just frustrated fans who think the Bucs need to upgrade the offensive line.
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to once again silence the doubters and prove everyone wrong, the team is going to need a lot more out of its offensive line.

The unit has struggled mightily since 2022, with injuries and poor performance bogging things down. Ryan Jensen missed two straight seasons before needing to retire, Donovan Smith committed more holds than he ever had and was released, and the Bucs were forced to rely on unproven players to try and protect Baker Mayfield.

While it was less than ideal, the offensive line should get a little credit for holding things together as best it could. The Bucs didn't play their last game until the NFC Divisional Round, so even if the line was subpar it didn't cripple the team's chances.

That being said, upgrades are going to need to be made if Tampa Bay wants to avoid a regression that experts are already predicting will happen. Guard is an obvious position to upgrade, but it's not the only place the Bucs should look for help.

Robert Hainsey gets called out as 'a major problem' for the Buccaneers

CBS Sports analyst Pete Prisco called out Hainsey and named the guy who should replace him, or at least give a guy he sees as 'a major problem' a run for his money.

“I think Hainsey, their center, is a major problem,” Prisco said. “I’ll take Graham Barton. Because he can compete at left guard and at center. That would be a great pick for the Bucs.”

Hainsey has been the target of these kinds of takes going back to last season, with yours truly being guilty of this. He wasn't a total disaster last season but the question is whether he's good enough -- or has shown enough upside -- for the Bucs to pass on a potential top prospect to take his spot on the depth chart.

Barton is one of the best linemen in a very deep and talented class, and he makes sense as someone the Bucs would want to bring in to help fix things up. Cody Mauch is entering his second season, Tristan Wirfs is the veteran leader, and the timeline for the line developing together fits with the Bucs using some of its Top 100 picks on rookies.

It seems clear that Tampa Bay needs to draft young players to help churn over the line, but whether that motivates Hanisey to outright win the job in training camp is yet to be seen. Either way, competition is surely coming.

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