Big Balls Are On The Table

May 4th, 2015

lovie and licht 0623New Bucs guard Ali Marpet, a second-round pick out of Division III Hobart, is a tremendous underdog story. The guy’s the highest ever draft pick out of the lowest ranks of college football, where scholarships don’t exist.

Marpet also represents Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht putting a hefty set of balls on the table.

On the heels of remaking the Bucs’ offensive line last offseason, which led to a horror show, Licht is putting a lot of chips in on an unproven player.

Sorry, Joe can’t pretend that film is meaningless. And the reality is Marpet has no college film. Folks think O-linemen coming from spread offenses have a tough adjustment in the NFL and are hard to evaluate. How bout a guy playing college ball against defensive ends that make Daniel Te’O Nesheim look like Julius Peppers in his prime?

Joe admires Licht’s bold play. Joe really does. Every draft pick is a gamble, and Licht’s showing extreme confidence in his scouting. Keep in mind Licht was a college offensive lineman himself.

People say Licht and Lovie Smith are married to Jameis Winston, but Lovie and Licht are just as married to their second-round offensive linemen, Donovan Smith and Marpet. The rookies are expected to win their starting jobs, after the Bucs added no O-linemen this offseason and subtracted two.

Joe really doesn’t want to think about what might happen if they fail.

37 Responses to “Big Balls Are On The Table”

  1. miken Says:

    both 2nd rounds picks sound like they may need time to develop. I hope they hit on these 2 because we traded up and there were other guys availible.MMQB has the scouting report on Marpet that says he will be a solid starter in a few years… if thats true the 2nd round seems a little high. Only time will tell

  2. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Read that OL coach Warhop had a lot of input into these selections why would they listen to him after the collins debacle? I think he would go down on the list of credible people

  3. Capt.Tim Says:

    I’m betting my money on Marpet. The guy is a real life Rocky!
    I think he will start at Right guard this year. And struggle
    But I think that chip on his shoulder won’t fall off, until he has a couple pro bowls on his resume.

    Watch close. It’s a once in a generation story.
    I’m happy to have “The Hebrew Hammer” on our team. He’s gonna stick so close to Logan Mankins, that he’ll play like his clone soon!
    Meybe, someday, even better.

  4. Dean Says:

    There are two influences that will help these young linemen develop.

    First, is Dirk Koetter. He will set up the line to be successful. He will set blocking schemes and help to make sure they are not over-whelmed.

    Second, is Jameis Winston. He is used to adjusting blocking schemes at the line.

    These two, working together, will help these young o-linemen be successful.

    Also, don’t think the Bucs are done with offensive line help. Teams will be cutting older vets, because of rookies they drafted. And who has the #1 choice at the waiver wire? Our Bucs!

  5. pick6 Says:

    recent history when doubling down on a specific unit early in the draft has been pretty discouraging….G. McCoy/B Price, Benn\M. Williams, Clayborn\Bowers…then again recent history in every phase of our drafting has been pretty discouraging. a betting man would figure one of the two to eventually bust, although with all the bad luck we’ve had in the draft maybe we’re due for some home runs.

  6. DallasBuc Says:

    Excuse me if I don’t trust the talent evaluation prowess of the bobblehead lapdog GM when it comes to OLinemen. There is very little chance the Hobbard product lives up to his draft grade. Why is this guy our GM again?….oh yeah, incompetent Lovie Smith wanted a lapdog for a GM that wouldn’t be able to tell him what to do. Unholy and stupid

  7. Destinjohnny Says:

    Fully agree joe -huge gamble when there were proven players on the board. They have botched the line decisions really bad up to this point. To have to trade for Logan and lose that 4th was huge especially when zutAh was a serviceable player

  8. BucWild007 Says:

    Evan Silva of Rotoworld gave an NFL comparison of Evan Mathis for Marpet! Prisco is the only one who seems down on him. Marpet dominated the Senior Bowl against that top ranked college talent.

  9. Captain Stagger Says:

    Passing on Cann, for Marpet…..not so sure about that move….

  10. ufcguy Says:

    U do know seattle was about to select him

  11. Louis Friend Says:

    It’s going to be a lot easier for Marpet than it is for D Smith. He gets JJ Watt and Charles Johnson in the first month of his pro career. I’m more curious about whether that guy has what it takes right now.

  12. JMan Says:

    Licht hasn’t done much to establish trust in his scouting ability.

  13. JMan Says:

    Remember when he passed on a CB with first/2nd round talent to get an H Back slower than Javorski lane?

  14. Harry Says:

    Priscoe’s point is spot on. Nothing against Marpet, but the risk of adjusting from D-3 to the NFL is huge for him, compared to a safer, proven Guard like AJ Cann. It could turn out to be great, but are the Bucs really in a position to be gambling like this? This risk taking style appears to be a developing MO for L&L. Time will tell.

  15. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Ali Marpet will end up being better than Smith.

    A curious statement from Licht after he picked him…he expects Ali Marpet to earn the starting position of “one of the two guard positions.”

    He didn’t get specific.

    I found that odd, since Mankins fills one of those roles.

    Personally, I say start him at guard, and then, when he addapts to the NFL, rotate him at the Center position, switching him and EDS back and forth to get him experience. That was, if EDS sucks at center (he will), Ali Marpet is ready to step in.

    I cannot believe how down on Ali Marpet some of you are. He was on my wishlist in round 3, and that was the pick they used, except they traded up for him. I don’t really care that he was “reached for”. What does it matter?

    The only difference is in his paycheck. When a player is picked means squat after he is drafted. You people put too much importance on things. The only exception might be the top of the first round.

  16. Stanglassman Says:

    The bucs clearly had Marpet higher on their board than AJ Cann for some reason. I don’t know if they just thought he was more athletic or intelligent or what but I’m sure they thought it though more than we did. Listening to Jason L. talk about him I think it maybe more the latter. I just wonder if they settled for this pick after the Cowboys grabbed Randy Gregory. Especially since the cowboys run such a similar def scheme. Guess we’ll never know for sure.

  17. Rrsrq Says:

    Why would you say Ali will be better than D. Smith, don’t we want both to become pro bowlers, I hope, Marpet, Smith, Edwards and Pamphile all become great, like the Cowboys in the 90’s o-line

  18. Stanglassman Says:

    BTW he will be competing for the RG position against P. Omameh. I keep seeing people on here speculating about different positions like center (though now some saying they were talking about the future)and some saying LG behind Mankins though this is more likely but still not the case according to Jason L.

  19. Stanglassman Says:

    2014 Cowboys had the best OLine why go back to the 90’s when they were barley if even 300 pounders?

  20. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    No one has been down on Jason Licht more than me. I commonly called him Jason “Lost” (not my idea but I ran with it). I often said that EVEN Mark Dominick was a better GM.

    Before this draft, I said two things.

    First, I said that Jason Licht had done nothing good for this team, that all of his moves, except Verner, had failed, that his contracts sucked, and that his trades sucked.

    Second, leading up to the draft, I said that with seven picks, we might get 3 starters (or players actually worthy of being starters), and if we were very lucky, we would get 4.

    Jameis is a lock to start, though I think it would be wise to wait a few games and let him believe he has to earn it while the oline learns to gel. Certainly, if that oline can block for Glennon, they can block for Winston. Winston might be slow, but Glennon is twice as slow.

    Smith and Marpet will pan out. People may be down on Marpet, but that will have changed within a couple years, once he proves himself. He was on my wishlist, so I know a bit about him.

    I know next to nothing about Kwon Alexander, except that there are rumors he might end up playing a safety position in the long run, if they can’t fill those roles. He was on my wishlist. The fact that he has returned punts for TDs is a plus, but Murphy and him will battle it out for the slot. Bell will eventually win.

    Clay and Iosefa were surprise picks. Iosefa has a build like Alstott, and maybe we’ll get lucky, but I’m not counting on it. Clay might end up as a returner, but he has drop issues, so he’s a long shot.

    So Winston, Smith, Marpet and Bell. Four starters.

    I am simply amazed Licht managed to get it done. He earned props, even if you guys don’t see it. That trade up for Marpet was the best trade he’s ever pulled off, and believe it or not, it was the best trade of the draft. When this draft is looked back on in a few years, people will see that.

    Well done, Jason Licht.

    Kenny Bell is going to be the starting slot WR. He was

  21. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Rrsrq Says
    “Why would you say Ali will be better than D. Smith, don’t we want both to become pro bowlers…”

    I didn’t say Smith would be bad, I said Marpet would be better. Among two good players, one is always better than the other.

  22. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    Jason Licht cannot say that he expects Marpet to play center at some point becuase he has yet to talk to EDS. More likely, he will allow them to complete for the role. EDS can play guard better than center, so we’ll see when the final roster is decided.

  23. LargoBuc Says:

    Both Lineman and Jameis will struggle. As long as everyone is on the same page, and it starts with Koetter, then you can weather the storm and the struggles and mistakes hopefully wont define your season.

  24. Buc1987 Says:

    I’ve got big balls
    I’ve got big balls
    They’re such big balls
    And they’re dirty big balls
    And he’s got big balls
    And she’s got big balls
    (But we’ve got the biggest balls of them all)


  25. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    For some reason, I think Mankins and Marpet will become close friends. I can see the 2 of them eating BBQ together.
    Like Bonzai, I too had Marpet high on my list of “wish picks”.

  26. WS99 Says:

    In retrospect Id prefer tre Jackson over marpet and nick o’leary over clay.

    The bills drafted 3 FSU players. Darby, karlos and nick to play with EJ.

    I just think tre and nick could have been a great support system for jameis.

  27. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I’m very happy with this draft. Not going to pretend I know how to evaluate lineman so I’m just glad we spent 2 premium picks on them.

    Lineman are really hit or miss; especially when you have two OTs going #1 and #2 a few years ago and neither panning out lol. Even after all the experts say they are the best players available lol. So if anyone thinks they are some expert O-line evaluator they can shove it after that draft. No one was declaring those guys busts.

    Ali Marpet is possibly my favorite pick after Winston. The upside for him seems to be really high.

    The NFL coaches that worked with him in prepartion for the Senior Bowl / combine said he absorbed and learned everything like a sponge. To go from D3 to holding your own against Danny Shelton 1 on 1 is insane. The fact that he had the best combine numbers is even better. If he can continue on the kind of ascent he’s having with his game; the sky is the limit.

  28. Phil Says:

    I like the Marpet pick. I think he will be a very good offensive lineman for a long time.

  29. ThunderBuc81 Says:

    I agree Licht’s scouting has been questionable at best but I’m intrigued by this Marpet kid. Seems like Tampa is where he wants to be, if that’s the case moral will allow him to perform to his highest ability. We will see.

  30. Mike10 Says:

    I’m not going to admit to being and offensive line talent guru. I didn’t see Marpet at the combine and I hear he stood out at the Senior Bowl.

    But facts are facts: Licht traded up in the second to get him when guys like clemmings were still there. All we can do is put it on his resume and revisit this decision in a year.

    Both guys can’t be projects, not after last year and how we positioned ourselves after FA. And I put Warhop in the same discussion as Derek Shelton in terms of “blessed employment” in Tampa.

  31. Babaloo Says:

    Yeah he has nothing on film – not even the fact that he dominated the senior bowl and did not even allow a pressure. He also had a big showing at the combine.

    The guy is a beast and will prove it in short order to those who don’t have a tv, or bias. Guess what? There is usually a first time and this dude is the real deal. New England and Seattle were gonna draft him and it’s well known neither of those teams know how to draft. Right? Right??

  32. cmurda Says:

    Good point Babaloo. Every indication is the Pats and Hawks were going to draft this kid until the Bucs moved ahead of them. 6th and 7th round picks are really dart throws so I don’t mind whatsoever giving up a little positioning in those rounds to land the guy you want in the early and mid rounds. Nobody knows how well or poorly Licht and Lovie did in this draft but I certainly feel good in my heart about it. Damn, I loved that Bell pick. That and the complete domination by the Bolts last night have me on cloud 9.

  33. Stanglassman Says:

    @ Bonzai
    I agree Marpet maybe groomed for center in the future but that was never the issue. I was talking about the OL at the beginning of this season. I was just mentioning some of the people who were sure he was drafted to be a center are now softening their position. I’m sure you can relate. I’m glad you warmed up to JW. You’re the smartest guy on here that wasn’t for him all along.

    BTW Clay was drafted to return Punts and maybe kick offs, Alexander will battle it out for playing time vs Lansanah at SAM, maybe Saftey down the road but I never heard anyone say that or PR/KR.

  34. The Real Drew Says:

    The “C+” guy is looney. He just shrugs off the Senior Bowl in that segment. I watched the Senior Bowl again Sunday and focused on Marpet. He was outstanding. He played most of the offensive series. At least a couple of those series it was him at LG and Donovan Smith at LT. He also played RG a couple series. I only saw one play where he lost a little leverage and the DT got across his face and made a tackle on the rusher just behind the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, his pass pro was solid and he helped create holes for the running backs. I give the pick an A.

  35. Barco Bill Says:

    I love the pic. He seems really strong and agile; obviously played against inferior talent, but did well against the major college players at the Senior Bowl. Check out his family’s reaction to the phone call from the Bucs when they moved up to draft him.

  36. Cover deuce Says:

    So much hand wringing over Marpet, and he wasn’t even the worst pick. I’m angrier they didn’t go after the corner with 1st round talent in the 7th. Mark my words: the fullback was a wasted pick by a team that can ill afford such things.

  37. Owlykat Says:

    Alexander has skill no doubt but at 223 pounds he is not going to be an effective SLB in the NFL. There is no way he beats out Lansanah! But if Licht was half the scout he thinks he is he would have taken Green to be our Slot Receiver instead. Licht is no better than Dom! If you will remember he also thought Edwards was a great lineman because how he played in the Senior Bowl. How did that work out? I am not down on Marpet though. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes, and I believe Licht will possibly luck out on that pick and I would love to see him start at Center ahead of EDS. I don’t think Smith will pass block well enough to be our LT but he would be an ideal fit at RG. He is strong as an Ox upper body and legs both. If Pamphile can improve as much as he progressed last year He could handle RT so I expect we can overcome Licht’s OL picks. At least he took 2d and third round for his OL picks.