Countdown to Cannons: Center of O-Line

With 21 days to go, we countdown the days until the Bucs' 1st preseason game, and discuss a different Bucs player at length every day.

Like most of the Bucs other offensive linemen, Evan Smith must improve his play in 2014 to prove worthy of sticking with the Bucs for future years. Smith changing his name and dropping the "Dietrich" is the first of many changes he makes.

Smith joined the Bucs as a free agent in 2014. He joined the Bucs after limited playing time with the Packers. The Buccaneers made him a starter immediately. While I do believe Smith can be a good player, he was caught up in horrific line play in 2014.

Smith possesses a contract that is clearly in the Bucs favor. He counts $3.75 million against the Bucs' cap, but without any guaranteed money moving forward, Smith faces the possibility of being released at any moment. The Bucs hold all the cards on Smith's future with the team, but until a suitable replacement is found, there's no need to part ways with Smith and his favorable contract.

One name to remember is rookie 2nd round pick Ali Marpet. I know the Bucs have said he's going to start out at guard, but leading up to the draft, NFL Network's Mike Mayock had said that Marpet could develop into a pro bowl center. With Marpet being as raw as he is, his rookie season might be solely devoted to adjusting to increased competition before focusing on the particulars of any one position...especially center. Until then, Evan Smith must continue to prove his worth.

22 Days: Banks Breakout Year

23 Days: Wright the Wrong?

24 Days: Dotson's Contract Issue

25 Days: George Johnson's Return

26 Days: Special Teams Boost

27 Days: No More Gilkey Please

28 Days: Sims City

29 Days: Johnson's Goodbye?

30 Days: Melton's Impact

31 Days: Murray's Big Leg

32 Days: Bell Brings Speed to Bucs Offense

33 Days: Glennon in His Proper Role

34 Days: Murphy Bonding with Young Bucs

35 Days: Masifilo Will to Do Anything to Stay

36 Days: More Focus on Fatinikun

37 Days: Verner's Quiet But Productive

38 Days: Big Hitting Swearinger

39 Days: Stocker Emerges as Top Blocker

40 Days: The Ambassador of Kwon

41 Days: Competition for Koenen

42 Days: Kadeem Edwards' Growth is Key

43 Days: Vincent Jackson's Importance

44 Days: Jacquies is Underrated

45 Days: McDonald Believes Bucs D is Close

46 Days: Questions on the Blindside

47 Days: Carter Is the Defense's Glue

48 Days: Tandy's Versatility Keeps Him Around

49 Days: Gholston's Year to Reach Potential

50 Days: Conte Brings Experience to Bucs Defense

51 Days: James in Short Yardage

52 Days: Mike Jenkins' Return from Injury

53 Days: Logan Mankins' Impact

54 Days: Lavonte David's a Star


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