continues its daily feature previewing the upcoming NFL Draft with position-by-position analysis.’s Mark Cook analyzes what the Bucs have currently on their roster at each position and Trevor Sikkema provides a comprehensive overall ranking of the top players at that position going into the draft. Scott Reynolds makes his projections for Tampa Bay with’s Bucs’ Best Bets – one early round pick, and one from the later rounds.

The series began with quarterbacks, followed by running backs and wide receivers,  tight ends and now offensive tackles.

Despite some negative sentiment from a faction of fans, the Bucs are pleased with their starting offensive tackles, Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith. Both certainly could have played better last year, and both must cut down on the penalties, as they were the top two offensive linemen to commit infractions in 2016. Smith is entering his third season, and while no one is comparing him to Walter Jones, the team feels his play has been solid, and there is room for improvement still.

Dotson missed two games last season with a concussion but is fully recovered, and is expected to be the teams starter on the right side when they travel to Miami to open the season in September. Dotson isn’t getting younger, and is actually the longest tenured Buccaneer on the roster, and like Gerald McCoy, he has never been to the playoffs and he is hoping that 2017 will be the year he finally tastes the postseason.

Kevin Pamphile is listed as a tackle, but plays mainly guard, although he did fill in for Dotson late last season for the Saints game and the team was pleased with hid performance. Leonard Wester is a reserve heading into his second season and the team also believe he can develop, but aren’t sure exactly to what point. Like Pamphile, Wester did get a taste of action last year, but isn’t expected to compete for anything more than depth in the near future.

Second-year player Caleb Benenoch played tackle in college, but the team appears to view him as a guard in the NFL. Still he may get some reps this offseason at both positions and could possibly play the right side if the team were to become desperate. 

The Bucs lost Gosder Cherilus, whose knees finally gave out on him after nine seasons in the league. Cherilus retired this offseason.

Having depth at the tackle position is always a luxury in the NFL, and the Bucs found that out the hard way when Dotson missed the Cowboys game and Cherilus was victimized in the fourth quarter by defensive David Irving who single-handily thwarted the Bucs late game attempts to come back on Sunday Night Football. While it doesn’t appear to be a priority, and this draft is also not a very deep one for tackles, is is possible that Tampa Bay drafts a tackle – likely on Day 3 where the team has found Pamphile and Benenoch. If the Bucs don’t draft a tackle, expect that position to be one addressed immediately following the draft with a few undrafted free agents signed by the team to evaluate some potential development. 

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for 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, the beach and family time.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
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4 years ago

PR, this is a bit off topic but I was curious what your thoughts were on the chances of Reuben Foster sliding far enough for the Bucs to grab him? Nobody has even discussed the Bucs picking a LB but if he is available then why not pick him.

Crazy Legs
Reply to  jshumaker
4 years ago

I want Will Holden out of Vanderbilt, because Mark says he has “god power.” That’s what we need on our OL.

4 years ago

When I saw a picture of Bolles on another web site, I thought he might be auditioning for the next Dumb, and Dumber movie with that hair cut. Couldn’t possibly draft a linemen with bangs. If you want to bench Dotson, or move Smith to R.T. then it would be hard to pass up Robinson if he fell. To me there’s no question he’s the best O linemen in the draft. Unless one of these draft picks has some real bodies buried in their back yards, I’m getting a bit tired of the nit picking questionable character concerns. We’re looking… Read more »

Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Let me get this straight surferdudes…

You’re looking for football players, not the next pope, unless they have bangs. Too funny.

You should start a show called “NFL Fashion Police starring Surferdudes!”and you could critique all the players hairdos. hahahahahhahaha

Reply to  BucWild02
4 years ago

John Q. Prospect :
4.48 seconds in the 40.
2.58 in the 3 cone drill.
26 bench presses of 225 lbs.
Low top fade that transitions into cornrows as needed.

Surferdudes: “I give this prospect two snaps in a circle because that do is FIRE! You go girl!”

Question for surferdudes…What do you think of Trevor Sikkema’s man bun? I’m not certain, but he appears to be a Prell man.

4 years ago

Would just like to add. Right now Smith, and Dotson have no real competition. If Robinson fell that would change in a big way in a hurry. Both players nearly got Jameis killed last year, and Dot was hands to the face holding penalty waiting to happen. Licht also said at his presser we might pick a player at 19 were fans would seem to think it’s not a need, but down the road we’d be glad we picked that player. Look back to the tape of the Dallas game, and you might change your mind about needing an up… Read more »

Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Surfer: The RT is that game, until he got hurt, retired and the rookie who took his place might not even make the team. Can’t blame Dotson for that one.

Honey Bear
4 years ago

Julie’n Davenport could represent the best value pick for O-line in the draft if he is available in the 4th or 5th round. He is raw but I could definitely see him taking over a tackle position after a year of learning in the NFL.