Licht: Marpet was Favorite Player in Draft

Jason Licht reveals that Ali Marpet was his favorite player in the draft.

The Buccaneers focused on protecting their rookie quarterback on day 2 of the draft. In the 2nd round, the Bucs selected Penn State OT Donovan Smith and then traded back into the late 2nd round to select Hobart OG Ali Marpet.

“Perhaps my favorite guy – and Lovie will tell you the same thing – in the draft of O-line was Ali Marpet, just in terms of him being a small-school guy that you rooted for," Licht said.

"He dominated there at Hobart, but the concern that a lot of people had is ‘How is he going to play against top-notch competition?’ He played very well in the Senior Bowl. He looked like he belonged and we feel like he’s going to make an easy transition after spending a lot of time with him. (Offensive Line Coach) George (Warhop) spent a lot of time with him. We had him visit here, George visited him there. He’s a smart, tough, dependable, face of the program, very mature guy. That’s what we’re trying to build up front.”

Licht would go on to say that Marpet will play guard, while Smith will start out competing at left tackle.

“We took two guys in the second round," Licht said of his focus on the offensive line. We moved up to get one. I think it was pretty important. It’s also important – you know, a lot of times, as we learned here and as we’ve seen in the past, free agency just doesn’t work all the time. You’ve got to be sure on those guys. When you’re bringing guys in, young guys, especially when you’re bringing a quarterback in and you’re bringing the O-line in with him, these guys grow together and gel together. Usually that works out better and you can build something special. These guys coming up together, it’s like a fraternity.”

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