The Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite their 5-11 record and last place finish in the NFC south had one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL last season an was one of the best in Buccaneer history.
The Bucs finished third overall in offense averaging 416 yards per game. The offense led by Jameis Winston had one of the best receiving groups in the league and the Bucs led the league in passing with 320 yards a game.
Peyton Barber running behind a less than stellar offensive line could never seem to get untracked running the ball as he had just one 100 yard game running the ball. Barber ended the season with 871 yard rushing and five touchdowns.
Ronald Jones the highly touted second round pick out of UCS was a non factor as he averaged 1.9 yards per carry with one touchdown.
Overall the Bucs run game finished 29th in the league averaging 95 yards per game.
How can the Bucs get the run game going and take this offense to an elite level? They need one more above average run blocking offensive linemen.
If the season started today, the Bucs would go with Donovan Smith , Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Caleb Bennonech and Demar Dotson from left to right.
OnlyAli Marpet is even close to being above average on the offensive line. If the Bucs want to get the running game untracked and get this offensive to an elite level, they re going to need another quality offensive linemen.
No team has Pro Bowlers at every position on the offensive line, but the Bucs don’t even have one across the line. Yet the Bucs have the fourth highest paid offensive line in the league at just over 42 million dollars.
Donavan Smith is not the answer. The Bucs paid dearly to re-sign him because Micheal Liedtke and Cole Boozer are even worse than Smith. The Bucs were really backed into a corner and didn’t have much of a choice than to give him the 13 mill plus per season.
Donavan Smith was rated one of the worst run blocking tackles in football by Pro football Focus. He played 1118 snaps and only five tackles that played more snaps had a lower run block rating.
Ali Marpet is rated the eighth overall best guard in the league and is the seventh best run blocker. There is no question that Marpet is the best lineman on this Bucs team right now.
Ryan Jensen is the highest paid center in the league and is ranked number 28 out of the top 38 centers in the league. Jensen played 1116 snaps and only two centers had lower ratings in the run blocking game.
I give that analysis from Pro Football Focus to point out that the offensive line is a hindrance to this team being an elite offense. Especially the run blocking.
The Bucs did pick up Earl Watford a free agent guard who spent time with Arizona, but lost Leonard Wester to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A couple of excellent run blocking offensive linemen will be available in rounds 3-5 that will could help get this Bucs running game untracked.
Martez Ivory from Florida, Isaiah Prince from Ohio State, Michael Jordan from Ohio State, and Joe Lowery from Ohio University.
In 2019 the Bucs once again have a good chance to have a prolific offense. They can have an elite offense by adding an above average run-blocking offensive lineman to the group.