Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith isn’t the most popular offensive lineman on the team. Some Bucs fans see him as a serviceable, while some think far less.

One person who is a Donovan Smith fan is, well, Donovan Smith.

On Thursday, Smith stood at the podium and PewterReport.com asked the former Penn State product about comments from George Warhop – his position coach – who last year said Smith has the talent to be one of the best tackles in the NFL.

“I’m real close. Obviously, [I’m in] year four,” Smith said. “Experience is the best teacher. A lot of guys sometimes take longer than others and sometimes take shorter than others. So, I’m right there and it’s up to me to decide really. I’m right there, I’m pushing forward to be top-three, top-two, number one tackle in the league. So, you know, it’s all up to me.”

Bucs LT Donovan Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs LT Donovan Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Confidence is nothing that Smith lacks, even if a segment of fans would like to see him replaced or moved to right tackle. However the organization likes Smith, and sources have told PewterReport.com the team would like to lock him up to a long-term deal, possibly before the 2018 regular season begins.

Smith graded out far from one of the best tackles in the NFL, inc fact, according to PFF, Smith was rated at No. 53 in the NFL with just a 51.9 grade.

In fairness to Smith, he had to play next to two different guards last season, and many times it was a different player every other series. Despite the inconvenience of not knowing if it would be Kevin Pamphile or Evan Smith next to him on successive drives, Smith surprisingly said it really wasn’t an issue for him.

“It wasn’t difficult at all,” Smith said. “I’ve had snaps with Evan, I’ve had snaps with Kevin so they knew how I played, I knew how they played. It was just that tap on the shoulder, ‘Hey, I’m in.’ It’s kind of just triggered you, you knew how to do things. Like you said, we worked through it all throughout practice and training camp and stuff. Preparation factor, when you prepare for it, you don’t really have to adjust to anything. There’s really no difference. So, between those two coming in there, in terms of difficulty, no.”

While Smith took the high road when asked about the platooning at left guard, he did welcome the news that Marpet would be his partner in 2018.

“That’s big. When I heard that, I texted Ali and said, ‘You could have told me that before I had to find out through the media [laughs].’ It was good. We worked together at the Senior Bowl, left tackle, left guard. It’s really just getting a feel for each other. Obviously Ali is a great player and any time you get him next to a guy, it’s going to make us better. He played at a high level at right guard and a high level at center and he’s going to play at a high level at left guard if that’s how it works out. He’s a great guy. He’s a competitor.”

Bucs general manager Jason Licht recently said he wanted to get tougher in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Smith agreed that can set the tone for the whole season.

“A football team thrives off of the offensive line,” Smith said. “Without the offensive line, defensive line, there’s really no football, it’s 7-on-7. You have to have those guys up front, big, mean, tenacious guys who are going to push each other and take lead and change of the team because, like I said, there’s four to five of us on the field at a time. It’s almost a must to have a great defensive line, offensive line to – accountability, mental toughness, discipline, all of those good things, to tie them together. So, that’s what we have from top to bottom on both sides.”


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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]


  1. The power of positive thinking. If he doesn’t think it, who else will? I wrote a book once titled “The world’s three greatest men and how I met the other two” lol. Donavan, just hold your block long enough for the ball to get off. And Winston, throw the damn ball. We’ll be just fine! Go Bucs!

  2. I bet the reason Marpet is going to left guard instead of back to right is because with Marpet, you know what you are going to get and the Bucs are hoping that stronger guard play will help Smith play better at tackle. If you think about it that way, you understand the move to left guard better.

  3. Fans are way to quick to pull out their pitch forks. The bucs are young at alot of key high liability spots. Im willing to bet that Donovan Jameis and VH3 will all be fine. The spotlight is brighter at those spots. If you screw up it is very obvious. But how many LT, CB, and QBs come in and take the league by storm. Baktiari, Xavier Rhodes, and almost every qb takes their lumps early and grow because of it. This could be a big year from those three which is huge because to have young studs at 3 of the most important positions would be huge for the BUCS

  4. I know Joe Thomas retirement give hope but try to be at least average first…
    For PFF, You was not in the top 20 discussion kid!
    Tyron Smith, Trent Williams, David Bakhtiari, Taylor Lewan, Ronnie Stanley, Jason Peters, Andrew Whitworth, Jake Matthews, Terron Armstead, Charles Leno, Dion Dawkins, Anthony Castonzo, Alejandro Villanueva, Duane Brown, Joe Staley, Donald Penn, Eric Fisher, Russell Okung, Nate Solder, Cordy Gleen, Kelvin Beachum, Garett Bolles, DJ Humphries, Taylor Decker…

    I like confidence and at 24-25 you can progress but those top 3 or top 5 projection are just ridiculous!
    And these contract extention talk are worrying when you’re close to be in cap hell, should be let go…

  5. I really don’t care what PFF thinks. What I see is Donovan Smith playing very well with the exception of a play or two each game that seems to stand out. We should all recognize that he was a college Junior when he came out and is still developing. He only needs consistency.

  6. I feel like I’m really close to hooking up with Pamela Anderson. Reality dictates neither of us are as close as we think we are.

    Smith’s problem is he is a low motor player. Low motor players never become top 2 or 3. I see no chance for him but I’m hoping for the best.