TAMPA, Fla. -- The first wave of free agency is long over and the most perplexing thing for the Buccaneers is why they haven’t done anything with their offensive line.
It was the worst in the league last year and the Bucs haven’t made any changes, other than releasing left tackle Anthony Collins. That was a good move, but there has been no flip side to it.
That brings huge concern because it looks as if the Bucs are going to draft either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota with the first overall pick. You don’t want a rookie quarterback playing behind a bad offensive line and that’s what the Bucs have at the moment.
They have flirted with free-agent center/guard Stefen Wisniewski. But he has yet to sign anywhere despite making several visits. Indications are that Wisniewski still is a possibility for the Bucs. He would fill an instant need, either taking over for Patrick Omameh at right guard or allowing center Evan Dietrich-Smith to switch to right guard.
But it remains to see what, if anything, will happen with Wisniewski and the Bucs. In addition to guard, there’s a gaping hole at tackle. Collins was a huge flop last season and the Bucs need to have someone competent protecting the blind side of a rookie quarterback.
Right tackle Demar Dotson flipped over to the left side at the end of last season and it’s possible he could stay there. But, even if Dotson plays on the left side, the Bucs would have a big need at right tackle.
It’s easy to point to the draft and say the Bucs can address the offensive line there. But that’s asking for too much. They could get an instant starter on the offensive line in the second round. But it’s too much to expect anyone taken beyond the second round to start right away.
Besides, do the Bucs really want two rookies protecting Winston or Mariota? I don’t think so.
The Bucs need to sign Wisniewski or some other veteran free agent to fill one of their holes, then use the draft to take care of the other open position.