There has been much debate on how the Bucs will approach the first overall pick on April 30. It's been a lengthy discussion and debate among the fan base to trade down and stockpile picks while trying to rebuild the offensive line through the draft. However, that theory has been shut down.
Speaking to the media on Monday, head coach Lovie Smith talked about the importance of building the offensive line. Although he said they will look to the draft to build the line, he said there is no lineman worthy of the top pick.
“What we tried to do this year was to add as many pieces as possible, we thought we needed some help on the offensive line and we’re going to go through the same process – and it’s just not through free agency. I know everyone talks about the first pick in the draft – which is pretty important – but I don’t know if there is any offensive lineman worthy of that pick right off the top of my head, but we also get in the second round and third at the top of the round quite a few times," Smith said. "We’re going to get some good football players from the draft, I feel very confident of that, but also through free agency too. Right now as I talk to you a day after the regular season ends I just feel like we can make some moves to get some other good football players in here to help us win games.”
Many have no faith in the team's ability in picking up the right pieces through free agency but Smith is aware he has to go through all the proper channels and build the offensive front by exhausting all options.
Smith's words also hint to staying put with the first overall selection which comfortably ties them to either quarterback (if they declare): Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Whoever they select, the next big question would be who would they have on the line protecting their blindsides. Smith touched on the left tackle position as well.
“Everything is to be determined, but I thought [Demar Dotson] did a pretty good job there to, in midstream, finish the game, the next day you show up, ‘Hey Demar, guess what? From right you’re going to left.’ ‘Ok coach.’ And that’s pretty much how that happened," said Smith. "‘You think I can do it?’ ‘Yes, I think you can do it.’ ‘Do you think you can do it Demar?’ ‘Yes, I know I can do it.’ That was a step that we needed to take to see him and again, his better days are ahead of him if we decide to keep him at the left tackle position and as I talk to you right now, I don’t see why not. Nothing has said he can’t do it.”
The Bucs made a huge blunder with the signing of left tackle Anthony Collins. As Smith talks about the potential permanent move of Dotson to left tackle, it becomes more apparent the team has moved on from Collins at that spot. Whether they move him inside or move on from him remains to be seen.
Smith would talk about being comfortable playing a rookie quarterback. He said there would be no issue naming a rookie quarterback the starter which pretty much locks up assumptions of the Bucs going quarterback first.
Some like to reference the good offensive lines of today for how important it is to build one. No, the Bucs currently don't have a good offensive line. But like those teams that are constantly referenced, they too built it through many different channels. And besides, if there is no good quarterback under center, what's the point on having the best offensive line if there is no one throwing the football behind them?
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