Bucs O-Line Not the Scapegoat Anymore

As the Bucs hit the bye week, we take a deeper look at each position through 5 games this season.

The Buccaneers have their bye week this week, so we thought this would be an ideal time to fully evaluate the Bucs current roster after 5 games. We will discuss each player at each position at length and provide you positives and negatives with their play through 5 games this season.

Offensive Line:

Donovan Smith

Positives: Smith has brought a different level of physical play to the Bucs offensive line this year. Smith's physical play has led to success for the Bucs running backs.

Negatives: He has some work to do to become more consistent in pass protection.

Future: Tough to say which side of the line Smith's future will be on. I think his style of play is a better fit at right tackle, but if he cleans a few things up in pass protection, I'd be fine with him staying at left tackle for years to come.

Logan Mankins

Positives: Experience is probably the lone positive Mankins brings to the Bucs offensive line.

Negatives: Pretty much everything about Mankins play has been a negative.

Future: Logan Mankins has a $7 million cap number for 2016. I'd be shocked if the Bucs didn't cut Mankins and add that $7 million to their cap space.

Joe Hawley

Positives: Hawley has stepped in for the injured Evan Smith, and quite frankly, the offensive line has played better with him in there.

Negatives: Hawley is not an elite center, and being cut by the Falcons with them having such a bad offensive line, says a lot.

Future: Between Evan Smith and Joe Hawley, I think Hawley has a better future with the Bucs. Not sure either is the right answer long term though.

Ali Marpet

Positives: Marpet has flashed All Pro potential already early in his pro career. He's been equally good in run blocking and pass protection.

Negatives: Marpet is a rookie from a division 3 college, so the mistakes are there and will continue to come.

Future: I can't speak highly enough about Marpet. The right guard spot is set for a long time.

Gosder Cherilus

Positives: In short notice, Cherilus has made many Bucs fans forget that Demar Dotson was injured. Cherilus' strength is in the run game, and he has helped the Bucs running attack get on track.

Negatives: Cherilus is far from an elite pass protector. He has struggled in pass protection this season.

Future: Cherilus is not the long-term answer for the Bucs at right tackle, but he did sign a 2-year deal with the team, so it will be interesting to see their decision with him.

Demar Dotson

Positives: Obviously, Dotson has not played this season, but his strength is his athleticism. He is good, not great, in pass protection.

Negatives: I wouldn't call Dotson a mauler by any means. The Bucs have run the ball very well in his absence, so it will be curious to see if the running game stays strong when he comes back.

Future: Demar Dotson wants a new contract and held out part of the off-season for it. I wouldn't give it to him. I think Cherilus has held his own for the short-term. I'd consider drafting another OT in the 2nd/3rd round of next year's draft to pair with Donovan Smith.

Kevin Pamphile

Positives: He's had limited playing time, but his play has been encouraging. Filling in for Logan Mankins after never really playing guard was impressive, and maybe enough to consider that a permanent change.

Negatives: Dating back to the end of last year, Pamphile was beat some in pass protection. He is athletic, but still raw.

Future: I liked what I saw from him filling in at guard for Logan Mankins. I'd love to see if he could do it again, but at the very least, it's in the back of my mind as a long-term solution at left guard.

Evan Smith

Positives: I'm not the biggest fan of Smith, but I guess his toughness is a positive.

Negatives: There's just not a whole lot to like about Smith at center. His shotgun snaps take forever to get to the quarterback, he's a liability in pass protection, and he doesn't offer much in the ground game.

Future: Like with Mankins, I just feel Smith's money can be spent on better players at other positions. 

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