analyzes the top players in the 2018 NFL Draft with its position previews. Mark Cook previews the offensive tackle position with a comprehensive look at what the Bucs have and what they need, a detailed list of this year’s top tackles 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 Tackle
The Buccaneers have Donovan Smith as Jameis Winston’s blind side protector, who also happens to be one of Bucs fans favorite players to pick on. At times, it is justified, as Smith can be having a solid game and then his inconsistency rears its ugly head and here comes a sack, a hold or a false start. Still, the Bucs view Smith as a player with still a decent ceiling and here are plans in the near future to try and wrap him up to a long term deal. On the other side, Demar Dotson’s play has shown no sign of

Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah and Bucs LT Donovan Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah and Bucs LT Donovan Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

deteriorating, however, the former college basketball player turned starting NFL tackle will be 33 this year and won’t play forever. Coupled with the recent news of surgery to clean up some knee damage, the team will be soon need to be looking towards the future.

Leonard Wester has shown some promise and the team hopes he continues to develop into a quality reserve. The Bucs also have Brad Seaton going into his second season, along with Eastern Michigan’s Cole Gardner and former Cornhusker Givens Price.

And while many feel Caleb Benenoch’s future in the NFL is as a guard, the former UCLA standout has proven to be a serviceable fill in at tackle for the team.

What The Bucs Need At Tackle
While most wouldn’t say tackle is pressing need, as mentioned earlier, finding more developmental players is something the team would like to do. As much as they may like Wester, not many think the organization is counting on him to turn into a full time starter anytime soon.This draft isn’t top heavy in talent but there are some solid mid-round players who could be drafted later in the draft and developed into potential starters one day.

With Dotson being 33 this year and quite a bit of wear and tear on the body the team could be looking to find a player who could sit behind him, learning and developing into his eventual successor.

Click Page 2 For The Tackle Rankings

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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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Mike Wright
Mike Wright (@defenser)
3 years ago

I sure as hell hope you are dead wrong. I never witnessed a tackle win an NFl game. Tackle yes, but not with the 1st pick.And regardless of what people think, Koetter and Smitty are coaching for their jobs this upcoming season. We got to many immediate needs. However, I won’t be mad at the selection.

Honey Bear
Honey Bear (@honeybear)
3 years ago

I agree with Alex Cappa being a best bet. Taking him in the 4th round would be a smart decision. Dotson has a bum knee and frequently misses time. Let Cappa develop for a year or two and then turn him loose at RT.

Buc 1976
Buc 1976 (@robmckenz17gmail-com)
3 years ago

Cappa had alot off momentum early on he could be a good player but not in his first year but you never know.

EricNV (@ericnv)
3 years ago

Cappa would be a great pick, but we may end-up needing to draft a CB in the 4th round (no 3rd rounder). I hope we can trade down with Buffalo, and if we do we can target Cappa after taking care of the glaring needs in the first 3 rounds.

owlykat (@owlykat)
3 years ago

When we have a top running back, Guard, and CB (or S if we move Tandy to CB), if Cappa is still there take him because we have no credible Tackle Backup because Licht foolishly let Pamphile go who would have been a great replacement for Dotson. Then take the Gator Place Kicker and a DE to develop like Miami’s DE.