What if Donovan Smith Fails at Left Tackle?

The Buccaneers drafted Donovan Smith early in the 2nd round to protect the blindside of their rookie quarterback, but what if he fails?

We've entered the optimistic and positive time for being a fan of any NFL franchise. We all believe that each move this off-season will make our team a true playoff contender for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the fact is that some of those moves won't work out the way you want them to.

Remember last off-season? Most Bucs fans had hoped that Michael Johnson would become that elite pass rusher to make the Tampa 2 click. Anthony Collins was supposed to provide that ever-so-important blindside protection. Hell, I even remember hearing some fans and media members comparing the signing of Josh McCown to Brad Johnson.

One year later, all three players were failures and all three were released.

One of the bigger concerns from this off-seasons moves might be the idea that Donovan Smith, the Bucs massive 2nd round pick, would step in and immediately become the Bucs starting left tackle. At 340 lbs, Smith does have surprising athleticism, but he is a much better fit at right tackle than he is at left tackle.

“It is definitely a big challenging position," Bucs OL coach George Warhop said of Smith. "For your left tackle, you want a guy that is smart, you want a guy with size, a guy with range, you want a guy with athleticism. The best guys I’ve been around have all had that. He’s got size. He’s very, very bright. He’s very athletic. We are putting in a lot of stuff. I don’t know about a true mistake he has made so far. So far he has a good start, but Kevin Pamphile is in front of him. He has to beat Kevin out to be the starter at this point.”

After selecting OG Kadeem Edwards in the 5th round in 2014, the Buccaneers then moved back into the late 5th round to secure Pamphile as well.

Despite how poorly Anthony Collins played in 2014, Pamphile only started 2 games for the Bucs last season. Pamphile was decent, but definitely had his struggles as well. As much as Donovan Smith is an unknown right now, it's safe to say that Pamphile is an unknown as well.

"I wish we could have played him more," Warhop said. "I thought, when he went in there, there were some ups and downs, but he played enough that you look at and go ‘Okay, you might have something there.’ If I could do it all over again, I would have doubled his snaps. We would have a much better picture of what he is.

You might have something there? Yikes! Left tackle is not a position a team wants to have a big question mark at, but that's exactly what's happening with the Bucs. Donovan Smith is probably better suited at right tackle and Kevin Pamphile was a developmental 5th round pick just a year ago and got very limited playing time in 2014. That is the ultimate definition of having a big question mark.

I want to be as positive as anyone else at this point of the year, but if Smith or Pamphile do not nail down the left tackle position with certainty, it could be another long season for the Bucs offense as we watch teams tee off on Jameis Winston.

Do not be mistaken. As a high 2nd round pick, the Bucs will give Donovan Smith every opportunity to win the left tackle job. If he fails, I'd fully anticipate them switching him to right tackle in 2016 and possibly drafting a pure left tackle in next year's draft.

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