During the pre-draft process, new Bucs offensive lineman Alex Cappa garnered many compliments from those watching tape of his play from tiny Humboldt State.
A scrapper. Mean and nasty. An angry bar bouncer. Basically a guy you don’t want to get mad.
Following the rookie mini-camp practice on Saturday, Dirk Koetter said the team also found out something the Bucs like just as much.
“He’s sharp, very sharp,” Koetter said. “That’s one thing; when you don’t have the pads on, the thing you can learn about these guys is how sharp they are and how quick they pick up, how naturally football comes to them. He’s one that definitely fits in that category.”
The comparisons to Ali Marpet by many in the media aren’t surprising since they both played at schools you have to Google to even find. Like Marpet, Koetter thinks Cappa can be versatile moving forward.
“Yeah, definitely, that’s one of the things we liked about him,” Koetter said. “A lot of these smaller school guys play left tackle for their school, but they’re projected somewhere else. We really feel like he’s a guy that could play across the line. In his college days, he did practice some as a center too and as you know, on game day, when we’ve got seven up, they have to be able to play more than one position. So, we’re going to primarily work him as a guard, but we’re going to work with him at everything. So he’d be a right guard/right tackle, center for right now.”
As of Saturday, Cappa hadn’t met Marpet, but that was on his to-do list.
“Yeah, I’ve definitely followed his career,” Cappa said. “I haven’t accomplished what he has yet, but I definitely can’t wait to meet him and learn from him, for sure. It’s just cool to see him [succeed in the NFL] because he’s another guy from a small school and a guy who came in and not only competed quite well but has sustained that now for a few years. So I think I can learn from him.”
While the big schools get most of the attention, Koetter thinks plenty of talent leaving high school and going to college can fall through the cracks, like Cappa and Marpet.
“What most people don’t realize is how many colleges play football. I mean, we have a young corner here that didn’t even play his senior year of high school and then played at a small school,” Koetter said. “We have a couple of NAIA guys. There’s just a lot of schools that are playing football that are not on national TV every week. So, that’s where Jason [Licht’s] scouts, you have your regional scouts out there that are beating the bushes. Sometimes when they come across some smaller guys, they keep their mouth shut. They’re not spreading the word. It just depends. You never know how it’s going to work out, but sometimes it does.”
And while Cappa’s intelligence is an added bonus, he knows his reputation as a player with an edge is what will help him succeed in the NFL.
“I feel like it’s the most important thing for an offensive lineman,” Cappa said. ”You’ve got to be able to compete and be physical, but really that’s just how you play the game.”