All signs point to Ali Marpet playing a new position when the Buccaneers kick off the 2017 season in Miami on September 10th. Marpet, the Buccaneers’ second-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, transitioned from a tackle in college to a guard in the NFL. Entering his third season, he’s preparing for the shift from guard to center.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander, who led the NFL in solo tackles, would be a likely candidate to make the list, as would quarterback Jameis Winston, who finished just outside the top 100 a year ago. Guard Ali Marpet, cornerback Brent Grimes and tight end Cameron Brate are among other players who could make it after productive campaigns in 2016.
Last May, the Buccaneers selected Ali Marpet in the second round of the NFL Draft, making him the highest-drafted player in NFL history to come out of a Division III school. Marpet played his college football at Hobart College in upstate New York. Somewhat under-sized, he didn’t have a single Division 1 offer to play football.
After selecting Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in last year’s draft, the Buccaneers immediately turned to the offensive line, selecting tackle Donovan Smith and guard Ali Marpet in the second round.
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That will obviously be a serious challenge for the Buccaneers’ offensive line, the exact shape of which is still not determined. Williams will probably spend a lot of his time rushing against the three interior linemen, and Tampa Bay’s coaching staff plans to experiment with different lineups for those spots this spring and summer. The holdover group would be Ali Marpet at right guard, Kevin Pamphile at left guard and Joe Hawley at center, but the versatility of Marpet and Pamphile has given the team some other options. J.R. Sweezy will obviously be fighting for a guard spot and the Bucs think Marpet may have a big future at center. Whatever the interior lineup proves to be, they won’t face many stiffer challenges in 2017 than the Jets’ Williams.
NFL.com considered Lamp to be the best guard in this year’s draft class. Just two offensive linemen were taken in the first round – Utah’s Garrett Bolles and Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk. With Ali Marpet moving over to center, Lamp could be a good fit for the Bucs at right guard. At the very least, he would provide depth behind Kevin Pamphile and Evan Smith.
Walker still has an uphill battle to stick in the NFL his second time around, but he’s got a built-in support system at One Buccaneer Place. That would be true of Reynolds, too, if the Buccaneers chose to call his name in the draft this weekend.
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I do like Forrest Lamp as a prospect and I’ve heard the same Zack Martin comparisons, which is obviously very favorable. Not all scouts agree on that assessment, but he shows up in the first round of most mock drafts (perhaps in part because it’s a weak year for offensive linemen). However, I don’t think it’s a first-round need for the Buccaneers. I’ve said it repeatedly on our Insider Live show: I think the Buccaneers’ decision-makers are higher on their group of linemen than outside analysts. With Ali Marpet, Kevin Pamphile, J.R. Sweezy, Joe Hawley, Evan Smith and Caleb Benenoch around, the team is probably set on the interior line, at least for 2017.
Through two days of the Buccaneers’ rookie mini-camp, Head Coach Dirk Koetter likes what he’s seen from his second-round draft pick, Justin Evans. Koetter acknowledged that the rookies aren’t in pads, but some of the intangibles Evans is showing gives the Bucs’ coach a reason to be optimistic.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey authentic selected safety Justin Evans with the No. 50 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
In Round One of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers happily let one of the most highly-regarded prospects fall to them at #19. In Round Two, they simply took advantage of one of the draft’s greatest strengths.
Once again staying put at their original spot, pick #50, the Buccaneers selected Texas A&M safety Justin Evans. Just the second safety drafted by Tampa Bay in the first 50 spots in over two decades, Evans was the 10th defensive back taken in a run of 27 picks overall. The Bucs thus got a coveted boost to their secondary after using their top pick on Alabama’s O.J. Howard, the draft’s top tight end.