Well I think it is pretty safe to say that the Bucs won’t be making many changes if at all to the offensive line this off-season. Both Gm Jason Licht and HC Dirk Koetter echoed that today as both said they like their current group and feel they have a good nucleus to work with. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t need to improve as coach Koetter said they need to get better as a group per Rick Stroud.
Koetter said they’re happy with their personnel on the offensive line. But they have to get better.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) March 1, 2017
This makes sense as the Bucs have invested heavily into the O-line the past few years by adding key draft pieces in Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Kevin Pamphile, and Caleb Benenoch. Plus the team will get back J.R Sweezy who was signed last off-season and is expected to make an impact this season. The team also has key veterans in Evan Smith and Demar Dotson coming back who both provide depth and starting ability. I think the Bucs will try to bring back C Joe Hawley for the right price as they will try to keep last year’s unit intact.
Now let me be clear I do not agree with the Bucs opinion of their O-line as I think we need to upgrade the C and RT positions. I would like the team to bring in players at those positions via free agency or the draft. On the other hand, the Bucs might have the answers already on the roster to upgrade these positions. Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, and Kevin Pamphile should continue to get better as they gain more experience and all three want to be great.
So right there I say you have 3 out of your 5 starters and are looking for two more to step up to the plate. Now some internal options include JR Sweezy, Caleb Benenoch, Ben Gottschalk, Leonard Wester, and newly acquired James Stone. The Bucs are very high on all five and I think Gottschalk and Stone have a chance to be the upgrade at center if the Bucs choose not to resign Joe Hawley. Again the Bucs feel they have a good group and I think the ideal scenario is they can move either Pamphile or Marpet to C and have Sweezy play G, giving you a strong line of Smith, Pamphile, Marpet, Sweezy, and Dotson. It’s going to be an interesting off-season for this unit as they are coming off a down season and must improve overall as an unit.