As the offseason rolls on, Pro Football Focus continues its series of ranking position groups. Yesterday they evaluated offensive lines. And to no one’s surprise, the Bucs ranked extremely favorably.
Mike Renner ranks the Bucs in the “Elite Tier One” category, placing them fourth overall. This category Renner describes as having minor or no weaknesses.
General manager Jason Licht has gone to great lengths to build a strong offensive line unit. In order to do this he has utilized multiple means of acquisition. Licht has spent premium draft picks on starting tackles Donovan Smith (second round, 2015) and Tristan Wirfs (first round, 2020). He has also used draft capital to trade for an established veteran in right guard Shaq Mason.
Licht hasn’t been afraid to spend in free agency either. In 2018, he signed center Ryan Jensen to the largest contract for that position in NFL history. He doubled down this past offseason by re-signing Jensen to a 3 year, $39 million deal.
Licht’s Investments Have Paid Off
Wirfs was All-Pro in 2021, while he and Jensen were both Pro Bowlers. Mason is widely considered one of the best run-blocking guards in the league, and Smith has proven to be a solid starter who has improved his play every season since entering the league per PFF.
Given the resources invested in the unit it should be expected that it is considered elite. Renner lists each of the aforementioned players as starters for the upcoming 2022 season and pencils in rookie Luke Goedeke as the starter at left guard, replacing the retired Ali Marpet. Goedeke will be battling with third-year veteran Aaron Stinnie, as well as Robert Hainsey for that role.
No matter who wins the left guard spot the line should be a strength of the team. With four established above-average-to-high-performers entrenched around the position the Bucs will have quarterback Tom Brady well protected in 2022.