The rap music was blaring, the sun was shining, the players were yelling their calls and the sound of kicks and punts rang through the air — football was back at One Buc Place.

A few weeks ago the Bucs began their offseason conditioning program and on Thursday they made some of the players available for the media following one of their “practices.” It’s not a full-on practice with scrimmages and pads, but it is a chance for some of the new Bucs and old Bucs to get together and begin to get on the same page.

These are the five things we learned from One Buc on Thursday.

Donovan Smith a Top 3 OT?

Offensive tackle Donovan Smith was one of the players who was made available to the media at the podium on Thursday, which isn’t something that happens too often. Smith, who you could tell was a bit out of breath and still sweating from the practice before, talked about some of the progression he’s made as an NFL player now with three years under his belt.

He was asked a question which stemmed from his coach, George Warhop, saying last year that Smith could be one of the Top 3 offensive tackles in the NFL. Smith said he feels like he’s “real close” to that level entering his fourth year. He said that it’s taken him longer than he wanted, but that experience has proven to be what he needed and that sometimes you can’t rush that. He believes he’s capable or at least close to being able to put it all together in his fourth year in 2018.

Senior Bowl Squad Back At It

Smith also addressed a question that was asked of him pertaining to the chemistry of Marpet and him now working side-by-side, as Marpet is reportedly moving to left guard from the center position he played in 2017.

Smith said that he recalls playing next to Marpet at the Senior Bowl when both were participants there before becoming Buccaneers in 2015. He said that both are good friends, both understand each other’s skills and tendencies, and that their pairing should be a good one.

Junior College Squad Back At It

Incoming pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul has an interesting connection with a current Buccaneer player. Both Pierre-Paul and Bucs linebacker Lavonte David played as teammates at Fort Scott Community College for one season in junior college before moving on to USF and Nebraska, respectively.

David recalled that Pierre-Paul was unblockable back then, and the attitude that allowed him to be unblockable then still existed as Pierre-Paul has played in the NFL, and will remain a driving force of his production in Tampa Bay.

They See Me Rollin’

The worst news out of the offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came a few weeks ago when Bucs general manager Jason Licht informed the media that linebacker Kendell Beckwith had been injured in a car accident and would likely miss the entire offseason program.

That news sucked to hear, but according to almost all reports, Beckwith’s spirits when coping with the reality of the situation have been good. David said that Beckwith is around the team, in the facility rolling around in his scooter to meetings and rehab.

It seems like nothing can keep Beckwith away from football.

It’s All About the Details

Bucs tight end O.J. Howard was the final player to take to the podium on Thursday. He gave us some updates on his injury following the 2017 season, saying he was already a full-go for practice, and told us how excited he was that Cameron Brate got his new deal.

Howard was also asked what his biggest takeaway was from his rookie season, or what he would tell the incoming rookies if he could give them advice. Howard said that the difference between being good in college and being good in the NFL come in the film room. He said that the way he watches film and how he takes notes is the difference between him doing what he needs to do or letting someone down. He learned that in both successes and failures in 2017.

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Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

18 COMMENTS

  1. Part of getting to where you want to be is to believe that you can.

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  2. Donovan Smith is closer to a bottom 3 LT than the top 3. He is the most over rated player on the roster.

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    • Totally disagree, respectfully.

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    • I like his confidence in himself. Maybe he’ll prove you wrong this season. It’s a contract year, so he knows he’s in a make or break position.

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    • Hard to question that Smith definitely has the talent to be a top-5 OT in this league, was is questionable is his ability or desire to use that talent consistently on down by down basis. That’s my personal frustration with him, and it’s a trait he had coming out of college that he’s failed to improve on thus far. Hoping for the team’s sake this is the year he does.

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      • Maybe that is how Smith remains on the field without injury–“takes plays off”, sounds like he takes lots of stretches off–perhaps some defensive players wear him out more, maybe he needs a caffeine drink prior to each half–dude is a beast in size–maybe that slows him down motor wise. They need to get to the bottom of it before the season starts as this is now a fact.

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    • I know it’s probably way too late now, but I was kind of hoping that someone would ask Smith about playing RT vs LT, and if he felt stronger on one side or the other. He has been on the left side for so long now that he has probably forgotten how to play on the right. I always felt he would have a better chance of being real good on the right side instead of the left. It probably has also taken him longer to get up to speed in the NFL because not only is it a big jump in talent, but he had to learn how to play LT, when he was mainly a RT in college. I also think that the 2 guard spots are MUCH more similar, and easier to transition between, than the 2 tackle positions. All the people wondering about Marpet shouldn’t be too concerned, until we actually see him in his new spot. I think he will be fine.

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    • I disrespectfully disagree. Nybuccguy, you’re obviously ignorant about OL play. Nobody is overrating Smith. He’s already a league average LT, which is valuable enough, with a high ceiling. Bottom 3, what a dumbass.

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  3. Oh yeah I think Lavonte went to Nebraska after Junior college.

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  4. There’s no better option at L.T. then Smith on our team, or who may become available. It’s hard to find a top tear L.T. other then drafting one in the first round. I’d pick up Smith’s fifth year, but wait on a new contract until I see him become a top 3 L.T. this season like he says he is. If not, I’d look for one in next years draft.

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  5. I am not a hater, and I hope that he makes the Pro Bowl this year. But, we missed out when we failed to sign free agent LT Whitworth last season. He went to LAR for money Tampa had to spend. Smith could have moved to LG and played next to a great who could groom him to possibly take his place. His draft profile said he should move to guard in the NFL. Maybe he works out at LT. But, I think that he was a reach at pick 34. He was best playing next to great LG Logan Mankins. He dropped off when the play at LG dropped off after Mankins left.

    Bleacher Reports NFL1000 SCOUTS describe it pretty well.

    25th best LT – Donovan Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Pass Protection: 18/25
    Run Blocking: 14/20
    Power: 15/20
    Agility: 16/25
    Position Value: 9/10
    Overall Grade: 72/100

    Smith showed dominant flashes but rarely put it together on consecutive plays. There were times when he looked like he could one of the best in the league—then two plays later, one wonders where it went. I have been hard on Donovan Smith in the past because I wanted more out of him, but his 2017 film shows he is working on his consistency.

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    • How can a 2nd round LT be a reach? If it was a 1st round pick yeah but 2nd? Even in the quote you posted it even says he dominates at times, but need to work on consistency. If we signed Whitworth it would only be for 2 years and then we would be looking for a LT again, like what we did with Mankins. We are better off seeing what we have first instead of signing old guys.

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  6. @surferdudes

    D.Smith doesn’t have a 5th year option, he was drafted in the 2nd round.

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  7. Smith isn’t a good LT period. He was way below average in 16, maybe little better in 17. If he was going to be a top LT or way above average would have happened by now imo. I don’t know if he lacks the talent to be more consistent or the will to be, but he is still inconsistent. When you look at the whole body of evidence the penalties and when the crucial mistakes are made, timing, etc he wasn’t whole lot better last year to me.
    We don’t have a better option right now. Last year the whole O line sucked and couldn’t run block for shit. Looks better on paper this year but if they play like last year the RB position won’t matter much. Lack of run game was more the line than the RB’s. Martin couldn’t do shit, Rodgers not much better, Barber did little better than both but we still lacked much of a run game and was due to no holes for most part. Go back and watch games if you think a RB would have fixed last year.
    So hopefully if the whole line is playing better , and the new version of it allows players to get better perhaps it will elevate Smiths play to at least average at LT. That’s my hope anyway.

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    • fredster. another know nothing, whose opinion no one in NFL circles agrees with, Smith is already a top half of the league LT. Have you looked at some of the bottom half LT’s in this league? Everything you just posted is meaningless and inaccurate. Keep hoping, meanwhile DSmith will become one of the top LT’s in the league. It takes time for OL to mature. DSmith was thrown right into the fire and withstood the test. You ignorants will see.

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  8. Meant gel together better on O line.

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  9. One of the reasons we had a bad OL last year was we have kept an inept OL Coach. Warhop was the one who insisted on bringing with him two players from the Browns who were the two worst OL players I have seen since the Bucs were formed and I have watched a bunch of inept linemen with the Bucs. Warhop is a big part of the problem with D. Smith deluding him that he is one of the top three LTs in the NFL. The 25th best out of 32 is much closer to the truth! Tell me if D. Smith is a top 3 LT why was he caught holding so many DEs that were beating him otherwise last year. Lindy’s knew his best position was Guard when he was drafted because he was a poor pass blocker. Next year Licht will have to use our first pick on a LT. D. Smith has had plenty of time to get consistent but hasn’t done it. Fortunately if he keeps it up this year we now have Cappa who is a good LT and can pass block who and can be switched with D. Smith for this year to save our season during our first break in our season.

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  10. I think Licht has finally learned how to bring in a draft class that will improve our Offense and Defense this year so I believe he will be kept if we don’t make the playoffs this year, but if they fire Koetter and Smitty, whatever new HC they hire will have enough sense not to keep a Cleveland Brown reject OL Coach and will move D. Smith to LG where he can be a star. They are not going to agree to sign D. Smith to a huge LT long term contract as a Top 3 LT.

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