analyzes the top players in the 2018 NFL Draft with its position previews. Trevor Sikkema previews the offensive guard and center positions with a comprehensive look at what the Bucs have and what they need, a detailed list of this year’s top interior offensive linemen and offers up the annual Bucs’ Best Bets – one early round pick, and a pick from the later rounds.

What The Bucs Have At Offensive Guard/Center

The Buccaneers interior offensive line was a problem in 2017. It started off with promise. Going into training camp, Ali Marpet was moving to center to hopefully have an Alex Mack-like effect on the offensive line like what happened in Atlanta with the Falcons in 2016, J.R. Sweezy was finally back and healthy after his back surgery forced him to miss an entire year, and Kevin Pamphile was seen as a young, promising offensive lineman who could play guard or tackle well and was entering a contract year, so you’d figure they were getting his best.

Bucs RG JR Sweezy - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs RG JR Sweezy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Those things didn’t exactly work out.

Marpet was fine at center, but he wasn’t elite and dominant like he was a guard. Sweezy had a rough time adjusting to the speed of the game and the chemistry with the rest of the line and was one of the lowest graded starting guard by Pro Football Focus because of it. Pamphile was not only a disappointment but couldn’t even be handed the starting left guard job, as he rotated with Evan Smith for most of the season. All in all, it was a bad interior offensive line performance in 2017, and that’s why something had to change.

The big change in the offensive line was the signing of center Ryan Jensen to a four-year, $42 million dollar deal in free agency. That not only created one improvement at center, but also another as a chain reaction by Marpet moving back to guard. Marpet will reportedly be moving to left guard instead of his natural right guard position to likely compensate for Sweezy playing right guard and wanting to get the most out of him, but that still leaves some room for improvement on the interior.

What The Bucs Need At Offensive Guard/Center

While the Bucs are hoping they can salvage something out of Sweezy yet, that right guard spot needs to be monitored, and if all possible, improved upon — that could come in the draft. It’s no secret that the Bucs would be interested in the top guard in the draft, Quenton Nelson, if he were to be available, but there are other rounds where guard could be picked up as insurance policy players depending on how much the team still believes in Sweezy.

With Pamphile and center Joe Hawley no longer on the team, the team will need an interior offensive line player from this draft, it’s just a matter of how much capital via picks they want to invest in it.

Click Page 2 For The Tackle Rankings

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at:
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3 years ago

Is LG or RG the more important position on an offensive line with a right-handed QB?

3 years ago

If Nelson isn’t there at 7, I want (as I’ve been saying for a good long while now) Ragnow as our interior OL pick. His medical on the ankle appear to have checked out. With that, you’ve got a player who can everything on the interior at a high level. He can cross faces and get to the 2nd level in Zone. He can down block play side in Gap and pull and move backside. He can single or combo in Man. Fantastic pass protector at both C and G. He has the agility and spatial awareness to get out… Read more »

3 years ago

Theres a lot of desirable guys on this list. If we dont take Nelson round one, id like to address the position in round 2. Football is won in the trenches.

Ken Grant
3 years ago

Nelson still my top target. Has been for months. Glad many have come around to the idea of just taking the best guy and not worrying about position.

I’d snag 2016 Teller in a heartbeat. Some of that 2017 tape worries me. He just appeared lackadaisical. Maybe that will scare teams enough for him to slip into the 4th.

I think Alex Cappa and Tony Adams are likely to go ahead of that honorable mentions group aside from maybe Corbett. Both could be good fallback candidates to fill our need at RG.

3 years ago

Quenton Nelson is the prime pick at OG in the draft. But what if he’s not there and the Bucs trade down still in the hunt for a starter left guard? There has been much talk about OG Will Hernandez/UTEP. Is he the next best OG in the draft after Nelson? Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst thinks not. Here is his opinion after talking with several NFL evaluators: “it seems there is a gap widening between Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez to be the second guard selected in the draft, with the Georgia product moving ahead. Both followed up quality seasons… Read more »

Buc 1976
3 years ago

Wynn has alot of versatility can play Tackle in a pinch. Hernandez would be great also.

3 years ago

I actually think Quintin Nelson will be there at 7, but I still don’t think the Bucs will take him. Reasons: 1). He’s a guard 2). This article shows there is a lot of depth, we can snag one later 3). The bucs put a lot of faith in their players. We didn’t draft a premier running back last draft because they had faith Doug Martin would return back to good form. I expect the same with Sweezy 4). Nelson has potential to be as good as Zack Martin. That’s great, but at this moment, would you rather potentially have… Read more »