A day after selecting Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Bucs used their second-round pick on someone to protect him. With the 34th overall selection, the Bucs drafted Penn State offensive tackle Donovan Smith.
The 6-foot-6, 325-pound junior is a massive offensive lineman with 31 career starts at left tackle. Smith has plenty of experience, but has had bouts of inconsistency during his years with the Nittany Lions that make scouts think he would have been better off staying in school for one more year and developing, especially in a draft deep with offensive tackles.
Smith surprised NFL scouts by leaving Penn State early and foregoing his senior season, but he graduated with a degree in criminology after just three and a half years. That allowed him to participate in this year’s Senior Bowl where Smith had a good showing for NFL scouts and drew rave reviews for playing in the game as a graduated underclassman.
He carries his weight well and is nimble-footed in both pass protection and in the run game. Smith has a nasty disposition on the field and loves to finish his opponents with pancake blocks. He is a highly competitive, aggressive lineman that has the size and skill set to play either left tackle or right tackle, which gives the Bucs a tremendous amount of versatility.
Tampa Bay’s most veteran tackle, Demar Dotson, started the first 13 games at right tackle before moving to left tackle for the final three games of the season. The selection of Smith allows Dotson to stay at left tackle or move back to the right side.
The Owings Mill, Md. native didn’t even make the honorable mention list for the Big 10, but that speaks more about the talented offensive tackles in the conference than it does about any deficiencies in Smith’s game, and it doesn’t mean he won’t have a productive career in the NFL. Smith did help Big Ten Freshmen of the Year Christian Hackenberg throw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns and paved the way for the Nittany Lions rush for over 250 yards four times in 2013.
The former Penn State standout is a space eater who has all the physical tools to succeed at the next level according to scouts, including great lateral feet movement and awareness to pick up blitzing defensive players. Smith plays with good bend for a 6-foot-6 tackle, and will latch on to defenders not allowing them an opportunity to counter with pass rush moves. Smith will need to improve the technical nuances of the position and can get lazy with his technique at times.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems like we’re definitely in the second tier….sadly that’s still a major upgrade for our OL…
With both Clemmings and Fisher on the board, both presumably LT prospects, it’s troubling to see them opt for a RT with a questionable motor, who many are saying would be a better fit at guard. We do need a guard too, but that can be addressed later, whereas LT probably cannot (not a starter for this year anyway).
If this is who they wanted, they could have traded down to the bottom half of the 2nd round. He could have even dropped to their 3rd round pick. Weak, Very Weak.
this looks a lot like a WTF pick….there were at least 2 higher graded players out there and we go with him..seems like a reach from everything Ive read..not a good sign…BUCS AS USUAL…
between this and the Winston pick I think we are now averaging a B-/C+ grade for our draft
I never saw him play in college so I don’t have much to say on this one. I at least like his measurables, from his size, to his speed to his bench press to his vertical jump. Even from his pic he has bigger calf muscles than Dotson which will help in the run game. Since I’ve never seen him play I’ll be watching him closely in preseason.
didn’t even make the honorable mention list for the Big 10
You did not see him play but the Big 10 did.
That is one big dude!
I love the pick. No injuries. No issues. If the guy stays in school, he’s a likely top tackle taken next year. Prototypical size and nimble for a big man. He played on the left at Penn State and projects to the right in the NFL. I can see him smashing anyone who gets in the way. Nice pickup L&L!
Would rather have Cann over Harpet
Safe pick and can play left or right which helps us a lot. Go Bucs!
I’m tired of all you friggin’ experts talking about what a bad pick this was. Get with the program and accept that the Bus are improving, albeit slowly. Let’s see how some of this plays out before we go ballistic!
If Strength and conditioning coach,Dave Kennedy can get this kid down to about 320lbs of lean fighting muscle, we may have something special.
I listened to his presser and he’s very intelligent and plays with a mean streak. Like Penn, he needs to convert a few lbs to muscle to keep up with the speed rushers because nobody is coming through him, they may get around him at 338lbs.
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