With today being the 4th of July, we are less than a month from training camp starting and just 42 days from seeing our Buccaneers in game action. During those preseason games, we'll have the opportunity to see new faces brought to the team like Jameis Winston running Dirk Koetter's offense. We'll also be able to get a look at some of the younger players and their development.
There is little doubt in my mind that the Bucs' offensive line will be the focus of many during training camp and the preseason. We've all seen the stories already, whether they be on this site or others. The focus has been on names like Logan Mankins and Demar Dotson, along with the recent draft picks of Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet.
In last year's draft, the Bucs invested two draft picks in developmental offensive linemen. Offensive guard Kadeem Edwards and offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile were both taken in the 5th round of the 2014 draft. On the surface, both are very talented players, but both lacked experience deeming them developmental projects in the NFL. The good news is that one or both of these players could be a significant boost to the Bucs' offensive line if their development is accelerated.
I want to focus on Kadeem Edwards. I do feel he could be a secret weapon for the Bucs' offensive line if he has developed properly.
Last year, I was at training camp watching one of the practices. I ended up having an extensive conversation with a high ranking Bucs official. During our conversation we talked about a number of players, but I was surprised at how long we talked about the "impressive" Kadeem Edwards. I was told at the time that Edwards possessed all of the natural tools the Bucs wanted in a guard, but his lack of playing against elite competition in college while at Tennessee State would likely lead the Bucs to taking it slow with him. Ultimately, Edwards did not play in 2014.
Ironically, the Buccaneers drafted another small school guard in this year's draft by selecting Ali Marpet from Hobart College in the 2nd round. If the Bucs were willing to take it slow with Edwards because of a lack of competition, they'll likely do the same with Marpet. If the Bucs do take it slow with Marpet, Edwards might end up getting a legit shot at starting for the Bucs in 2015.
Edwards size and athleticism could lead to him becoming very successful if given the opportunity to start. If Edwards ends up having the success we all want him to have, the Bucs are left with a good problem on their hands. Where does Marpet end up playing? Marpet could end up as Logan Mankins eventual replacement, but I wouldn't rule out Marpet getting a look at center either. Mike Mayock said leading up to the draft that Marpet's most likely position in the NFL would be at center.
Again, the Bucs' offensive line will be one of the more scrutinized positions in training camp. There is much concern over how this unit will perform. If Kadeem Edwards has developed enough, those concerns should not be as severe. He will definitely be a player to watch when the Bucs open up training camp in less than a month.46 Days: Questions on the Blindside 47 Days: Bruce Carter Is the Defense's Glue Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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