Currently the Buccaneers hold the No. 1 pick in next May’s NFL Draft, and of course a majority of the speculation centers around the quarterback position, and rightfully so. Thought to be a safer pick could be the Bucs taking a potential franchise left tackle instead, especially if Tampa Bay trades out of the top five.
Last week the Buccaneers began an evaluation to determine if they may already have their left tackle of the future on their current roster. Demar Dotson lined up with the first unit on Sunday against the Panthers and played well, despite high-priced free agent Anthony Collins being healthy.
Dotson’s play has earned him another shot, and most likely two more starts to close out the season. The Mississippi native told PewterReport.com on Thursday he was pleased with his first NFL start at the position but knows there is still work to be done.
“It was good, and it was a start and I think that was what gave me some buzz around the organization that I could do it, I think that is what started it,” Dotson said. “You always hear speculation, outside the building, inside the building that they are going to put you at left tackle, they are going to move you to left tackle – I have been hearing it for years, even since I was playing over there when Penn was out. But it never happened, so I was just thought it was hearsay, just talk, but it is just funny how things work. It came back around and here is my opportunity so I just have to make the most of it.”
Dotson also said the opportunity to prove himself has added a little extra pep in his step the last two weeks.
“Moving over to left tackle has given me some extra juice,” Dotson said. “You are dragging around, hurting and your body aching, that extra juice of playing a different position has got me fired up a little. That gets me excited to go out and practice because I know I can’t go out there and slack because I have to get better. I am not that good at it yet so I have to keep working at it. I can’t be lazy, I can’t be tired. I always have to do the extra stuff, switch the plays in my mind, switch my footwork, so I am constantly thinking out there on that football field. That gave me some new pep. This season is down right now, and with two games [left] it is easy to get down, but with the opportunity for a new position, that is what has me a little more excited now.”
Head coach Lovie Smith talked about Dotson on Thursday following practice.
“There are some positions… you have to get your quarterback in place, Mike linebacker, a No. 1 receiver, but I think at the top of everyone’s list they would say they need to establish and have a left tackle that can take care of the great pass rushers by himself, without giving him any help,” Smith said. “Demar Dotson, as you draw up that perfect guy, he would look a lot like that, his size and long arms. But again, he’s been there one week. I’m anxious to see (Dotson this Sunday). It’s a big week for a lot of us, but I’m anxious to see him take another step this week and I think he will.”
Not many fans, coaches or members of the media could have envisioned a 2-12 season so far in 2014, and Dotson added his name to the list of those surprised with the failures.
“It is hard more because I thought we were a better football team – I still think we are a better football team – so we came into the season with expectations of getting to Phoenix or having a chance to Phoenix and definitely winning more games than we won. I know we are a better football team than our record is, but someone it hasn’t translated to the win column. Of all things, that is the most disappointing.”
Dotson knows this is an opportunity to prove himself as a potential future left tackle and it’s time to take advantage of the situation.
“I definitely can’t say I am giving up on the right side, I am more comfortable over there,” he said. “But I have the potential to be good at this position. I am just excited to keep learning, and keep learning and get better at it.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
Good luck, Big Dot! The Bucs have a lot of problems on the O-Line. Would love to scratch this one off!
He’s either 30 or almost; I had hoped he would stay at ORT and anchor that position for a few years. I don’t think this really solves the issue except a short term fix. At least we know in a pinch he can swing other which gives us more flexibility. Just my opinion. Go Bucs!
Strange that you would bring up Dotson’s age, he just turned 29 on Oct 11th – prime age for his position.
Are you still hoping for an OT pick in the first round like Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews – two OTs taken in the top ten 2014 draft that is currently struggling at their positions?
If they pass on a QB for a LT or any other O-line player in the first round I’m done with team. The time is now to get a QB in the draft and don’t even think about Cutler. How can one organization be so screwed up to not take a QB in the top five when you need a QB!
Any qb would struggle behind this o line. Mariota or Winston will look just as bad as mccown behind this garbage up front. Evan Dietrich smith, oneil cousins, Anthony Collins buh bye. A rookie qb doesn’t make this team better.
A rookie Q.B. can’t make this team look any worse either Ski. We need to fix both, we don’t have to choose between drafting a Q.B., or linemen, we’re going to draft both. However with the 1st, or 2nd pick pick in the draft, you have to take the Q.B. first. It’s football 101. Besides there’s no sure fire can’t miss O, or D linemen in this draft so why argue?
I’m glad the organization finally figured out that it is at least worth a shot to give Dotson an opportunity to play LT. For those who think a first round draft pick is necessary to man that position, I give you Donald Penn who played well enough for us. No Paul Gruber, but well enough. I’m with you “Sufferdudes”. Get the right QB and the rest will fall into place much easier than the other way around. No the rookie QB might not make the team better. But the second year is another story.
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Macabee, surferdudes,scubog; I’m for getting the QB in the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in the 1st round. I would like to draft a OT in the 2nd rd, and a center in the 3rd Rd, and a OG in the 4th round; then defense. I’m on the same page as you all are on; it just took me a few more games to get there. Watching Bortles last night convinced me we have to take a chance on Mariota or Winston. Winston reminds me very much of Bortles.
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