Five O-Line Prospects The Buccaneers Should Draft

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By: J.T. Olsen – Bucs Report – Special to Sports Talk Florida.

It’s no secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need help on their offensive line. They could use a serious upgrade at not one, but two of their interior positions. Drafting a left guard and/or center will be a high priority for General Manager Jason Licht.

Fortunately, this is a talent rich and deep draft class at the interior offensive line positions. There are several promising names to watch for through the first three names. Many of whom could walk in day one as a rookie and start for the Bucs.

It felt nearly impossible to narrow the list down to five, but in reality I think some players are much more likely targets for the Buccaneers. Whether it be scheme fit or likelihood they be available, I came up with the five names on the offensive line that the Bucs are most likely to draft.

5) Jackson Powers-Johnson

This is the name that everyone has been talking about this offseason. Powers-Johnson has followed up a great final season at Oregon with an outstanding draft process. If there was any doubt as to who the best interior offensive lineman was in this draft, then he has really put that to bed over the last several weeks.

Powers-Johnson dominated the Senior Bowl. He stonewalled every opponent he went up against in one on one drills and proved to be the most impressive participant of the week. When he went against the top seniors from across the country, he looked to be a cut above the rest.

It’s easy to see why when watching his tape. At 6’3 and 330 lbs, he moves incredibly well and does a great job working in space. He can also generate a lot of movement at the point of attack when working off a double team. This makes him an ideal player to run both power and zone concepts with Tampa Bay.

4) Cooper Beebe

If you like old school, throwback guard play then this is the one for you. There might not be a better people mover in this draft than Beebe. His mauling style is very appealing for any team who wants to become more physical at the point of attack. 

He is also a brick wall in pass protection. A guy like Beebe is almost impossible to run through and he has the phone booth quickness to stay in front of defensive linemen. He might not be a perfect fit for all zone concepts, but he will be a big boost to running the ball in the red zone and in short yardage situations.

3) Dominick Puni

Puni absolutely fits the Jason Licht profile for a guard. A left tackle in college, this big man from Kansas projects more inside at the NFL level. Players making this transition have worked out very well for the Bucs in the past, such as Ali Marpet, Alex Cappa and most recently Cody Mauch.

What really stands out about Puni is how well he moves. He’s very light on his feet and does a nice job working to the second level. His technique is still a little raw, so he might struggle with a lot of rookie growing pains (like Mauch did last year). However, I definitely see a pathway to him being a quality player down the line.

2) Graham Barton

With transparency, this is the name I believe the Bucs will most likely target in the first round. Barton is an extremely athletic left tackle for Duke, but has experience playing inside as well. There is every reason to expect him to start as a rookie, either at center or at guard.

After his obvious athletic ability, the thing that stands out to me about Barton is how smart he is. When listening to him in interviews, you can tell he thinks the game at a high level. This would be an important trait for a center, who is typically the one who will make a lot of calls at the line of scrimmage.

1) Christian Mahogany

A beautiful blend of power and mobility. Mahogany is very physical at the point of attack and will be an asset in the running game. However, he is also very good on pulls and leading the train towards the outside, so he has some value in zone concepts as well.

This makes him the ideal day two target for the Buccaneers as they try to improve a running game that has sputtered over the last few seasons. I’d expect him to step in and start as a rookie and add some more nasty to the Bucs offensive line.

Honorable Mention – Christian Haynes

Okay, I cheated on my five, I know. But I felt like I had to mention Haynes because he’s really good and he’d be a great fit.

Haynes is very mobile and will do well in zone based concepts. He also brings a certain pitbull mentality, to where he might not be the biggest guy in the trenches, but he won’t be afraid to go toe to toe with anyone. He will likely be a second round pick and I think he could absolutely be in play for the Buccaneers.

For more from J.T. click here, then make sure to follow him on Twitter.

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