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Eight of the nine spots on the Bucs offensive line are set in stone, but the final spot has been a hot competition in training camp. OT Brad Seaton entered the summer as the favorite, and perhaps he still is. The Bucs right tackle has been solid in practices and played ok in the first preseason game, while some of his competition faced greater adversity. Seaton has slowly worked his way back since opting out due to COVID-19 last season.

“Steady growth,” head coach Bruce Arians said when asked what he’s seen from Seaton since the lineman returned to the team. “It was really a struggle coming back. He obviously missed a year and the physicality of it and everything. He’s picking it back up. This is a big game for him.”

Saturday night’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans will be a critical one for Seaton. He’ll likely start at right tackle, while perhaps playing some on the left side too. Seaton has practiced mostly on the right side, but the swing ability will help his chances at a roster spot.

Bucs LT Nick Leverett

Bucs LT Nick Leverett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

His top competition is Nick Leverett, who has spent almost the entire offseason playing out of position. A more natural guard, Leverett played the entire first preseason game at left tackle. The results were mixed to say the least, with Leverett struggling against greater speed and athleticism off the edge.

Now the second-year lineman will get another chance to show his versatility – at center. Arians said on Thursday that Leverett would likely start at the pivot against Tennessee.

“Nick’s got good flexibility,” Arians said last week. “He’s a great competitor. He kind of reminds me a lot of Earl Watford; he can do a lot of different things. And he plays really hard, so he’s going to find a niche for himself.”

Leverett should be more at home inside, where his power and grip strength will shine working in more close quarters. He can physically manhandle opponents and plays to the echo of the whistle, which Bucs coaches love. But Leverett has very little experience as a snapper, so there will be a lot of eyes on quarterback-center exchanges on Saturday night.

Seaton and Leverett are the top competitors for the ninth spot, especially due to injuries elsewhere. Guard Sadarius Hutcherson tore his ACL in the midst of a strong performance against the Bengals, and center John Molchon was hurt in Wednesday’s practice. The two new additions, Jake Benzinger and Brandon Walton, are camp bodies. Offensive tackle Chidi Okeke is big, but hasn’t shown much, and Earl Watford is a veteran the team knows they can pickup at any time.

The two man competition between Seaton and Leverett reaches a critical juncture against the Titans. Perhaps the Bucs will keep both, or at least sneak one onto the practice squad. But with Robert Hainsey still working his way back from injury, the winner of this competition could get a hat on game day in Week 1.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Horse
Horse(@horse)
4 months ago

This isn’t the topic to say this, but what the heck. I think it’s important to start OJ Howard and let him prove his true worth. He needs to get in football shape and not playing tonight would be a mistake.

Spitfire
Spitfire(@spitfire)
Reply to  Horse
4 months ago

For sure. I know he’s coming back from injury and they may not wanna risk overdoing it before the season starts, but he needs the reps to catch back up so he can hit the ground running in week 1. He’s been up and down so far this preseason and he needs to prove he’s the TE of the future or if we need to be looking to Draft his replacement.

Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg