Best Fit: Ali Marpet

June 19th, 2015
"I need you, bro. I want to be able to walk when I am 30."

“I need you, bro. I want to be able to walk when I am 30.”

Joe never takes a day off but the NFL does, as slumber time has arrived.

You can bet, and Joe will be in the middle of it, that a popular theme of training camp and preseason won’t be how “America’s Quarterback,” Bucs signal-caller Jameis Winston, develops, it will be if he can stand upright.

For if the rebuild of the rebuilt offensive line is another swing and a miss, then that puts the No. 1 overall pick and $25 million dollar man Jameis in peril.

This is partially why Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht invested two second-round draft picks in offensive linemen. Of the two, Rob Rang of CBS Sports believes Ali Marpet from the football factory known as Hobart College is the best fit.

The blue-collar work ethic and tenacity that caused Marpet to stand out almost immediately at the Senior Bowl are just a few of the reasons why Licht and Smith believe the small schooler can handle such a difficult transition. Despite all of his collegiate experience coming at tackle, the 6-foot-4, 307 pound Marpet looked like a natural at left guard when asked to slide inside at the Senior Bowl. He wasn’t overwhelmed by the competition but instead reacted aggressively to the closer quarters, showing a good punch, as well as the balance and awareness to help teammates in pass protection. He showed enough power to get a push in the running game and swiftly arrived at the second level.

For some skeptics, the acclimation seemed almost too good to be true. A humble, hard-working small school prospect standing out against the best football players in the country? It sounded more like a project for his father, Bill — an Emmy-award winning director — than reality.

Marpet shattered the try-hard typecast by wowing scouts at the combine with his athleticism. Not only did he ran fastest among all of the offensive linemen tested there (4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash), Marpet also finished second in the short shuttle (4.47 seconds) and 3 cone drill (7.33). Each of these tests are designed to test explosiveness and change of direction – traits critical to his success blocking on the move in offensive coordinator’s Dirk Koetter’s scheme. The biggest adjustment for many tackles moving inside to guard is the close proximity and greater need for pure strength. Marpet finished tied for 5th among all Combine offensive linemen, posting 30 repetitions of 225 pounds.

Yes, yes, yes. Marpet shined at the Senior Bowl and in practices. Joe has already outlined how, in the past decade or so, that feat is hardly a harbinger of NFL success.

Going from glorified high school football to having to block Gerald McCoy in scrimmages is about the biggest jump a guy can make in the game. The Bucs rave about how athletic Marpet is. That is a key.

The Bucs are not forecasting Marpet to start right away. They know he will have a learning curve. Toward the end of the season, Joe has learned from trusted Bucs sources, would be a fair expected timeline for Marpet to start.

If you see Marpet starting in September, that means he has been everything the Bucs hoped he would be. Either that, or the line may be as dismal as many fear.

31 Responses to “Best Fit: Ali Marpet”

  1. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Danny Watkins || NFL draft: 2011 || Round: 1 / Pick: 23
    • Eagles (2011–2012)

    Butte College
    Watkins enrolled at Butte College to study fire sciences in order to become a firefighter after a year as a junior firefighter. He played football at Butte from 2007−2008, helping them to a perfect 11−0 record in 2008. Butte coaches sent game tape of his to Division I-A schools, and California, Hawaii, and Baylor were the schools interested.

    Baylor University
    Watkins transferred to Baylor University,[4] after head coach Art Briles was impressed with his game tape at Butte.[1] Watkins started at left offensive tackle as a junior in 2009 for the Bears. He replaced Jason Smith, who was drafted second overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2009 NFL Draft

    Senior Bowl Hype

    2011 Draft Bio Overview (GRADE. 7.6)


    • Watkins has good size for the guard position. Possesses excellent balance and the foot quickness to mirror defensive ends in pass protection. Shows proper hand placement and technique. Generates a good push in the running game and has the athleticism to make blocks in the second level. Plays mean and always finishes blocks.


    • His arms are on the short side and he may struggle to engage longer defenders. Raw football player that does not always recognize stunts and blitzes and can get caught out of position. Will lunge at times making him susceptible to double moves. Lacks the knee bend to consistently thwart the bull rush.


    • Watkins is new to the game of football, but has the strength and athleticism to play at the next level. He does not have the arm length and first step explosion to play left tackle, however he projects to be a quality starting guard. He plays with terrific balance and has the foot quickness to hold in pass protection. Despite his limited football experience, he engages very well with his hands and maintains a strong position. He will occasionally have lapses in his reads, but he has very high upside and will likely be a second day pick.

  2. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Danny Watkins was praise for his BLUE COLLAR Temperament

    Case in Point:

    Danny Watkins Draft Profile (Pro Football Weekly)

  3. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Danny Watkins was released on August 31, 2013. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said the “innate toughness” Watkins showed at Baylor never materialized.

  4. bucs4lyfe Says:

    when talent meets experience that’s when he should begin to shine. talent alone as all bucs fans know just isn’t enough but atleast he has drive and work ethic

  5. rayjay1122 Says:

    OK, well this article is about Ali Marpet, not Danny Watkins. Looks like someone who does not like Market and is reaching.

  6. rayjay1122 Says:

    Marpet… Auto spell.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Did we draft Danny Watkins?……..some of these player comparisons are absolutely rediculous…….

  8. rayjay1122 Says:

    Agreed! Every rookie can have another previous rookie from another team in the past that did not pan out. Sad that so much time and effort by some people, and not just you LUV, are wasted on that type of analysis. It has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

  9. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Just recalling last time a team’s(personnel department) reached for a guy with similar back grounds/attributes. I also think its funny, how the same dude that was part of, the Philadelphia Eagles’ player personnel department-Andy Speyer.

    Is now our National Scout-Lets hope he’s right this time.

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    The comparison is spot on.

    Guy with little, to no experience against Elite Talent. Shines at Senior Bowl, Draft stock skyrockets because of it. Lack of arm length and size, projected him inside to to guard or center. Same dude that scouted him in depth in Philly-Is now our National Scout.

  11. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    We drafted the kid- So I’m pulling for him-either way. I just feel the wiser play is to sign Evan Mathis-and Let this Kid Ride the Pine for Awhile.

    Only the Best for Our Million Dollar Quarterback….

  12. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Excuse Me -Our Hundred Million Dollar Quarterback

    Gotta Protect Your Most Priceless Investments-Right?

  13. tmaxcon Says:


    Nice breakdown… I got it the first time no explanation needed. Very valid point that the scout has a history of reaching for talent. Marpet is the biggest risk of all the draft picks this year. Just like at MLB, RG and LT there are no backup plans if these gambles do not payoff. To many gambles and not enough backup plans. It bit Lovie in the arse last year and will do the same this year. Just wondering who Lovie will blame next year.

  14. rayjay1122 Says:


    I understand what you were trying to accomplish with the comparison and I know that you put some time and effort in pulling that information from Danny Watkins. My only point was that any player drafted will have someone with a similar story or background who may not have worked out for the team who drafted them or any other team for that matter. Sure, Marpet could be a bust. He could also become a solid starter. I think we could just focus on Bucs history and see players who were drafted that played the same position with one being a bust and another being a good fit while sharing similar attributes. At the end of the day, we will just have to wait and see how the gamble on Marpet pans out.

  15. rayjay1122 Says:

    I was not aware of the scout being the same, so on that level, LUV, your comparison does cause one to at least be at least cautiously optimistic that Marpet works out.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @tmaxcon #Respect!

    @rayjay1122-I hear U Brotha-Point taken

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    One person doesn’t create a trend…..

  18. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Tampabaybucfan-I hear U Brotha-Point taken

  19. OB Says:

    David D. “Deacon” Jones last went to Mississippi Vocational College where he played football. This Hall of Fame Defensive end is considered among the best that ever played. If they counted sacks, which he invented, he would probably be the all time leader and in playing less games per season.

    Where the player goes doesn’t matter, his abilities and heart are what matter.

    How many first and second round choices have we had that did not pan out went to football factories and were considered a “can’t miss”?

    Ali Marpet will be better that what we had and I believe he will excell because we are becoming a team with an OC who knows what he is dong for the first time in almost forever.

    Keep up the good work Joe and let us know about the others below the radar.

  20. Joe Says:

    You simply cannot compare Deacon Jones to Ali Marpet. Back when Deacon played, due to Jim Crow laws, blacks in the south had little choice but to go to theae small schools. Scouting was light years different than now.

    Comparing Deacon Jones with Marpet being in a small sbhool is totally apples and oranges.

  21. JayPee Says:

    Not going to act like Marpet is a sure-fire NFL talent, but there are key differences between he and Watkins:

    -Watkins didn’t play football until he was 22. Marpet played 3 years in high school, skipping his sophomore year only because he weighed 160 lbs. and needed to bulk up.

    -Watkins grew up in Canada as a hockey fan and never had a passion for football. Marpet put on 140 lbs. in 7 years (60 pounds in college) in an attempt to reach prototype o-lineman size; and he also played without an academic scholarship.

    -The Baylor spread that Watkins played in isn’t exactly known for producing quality NFL-level talent on the offensive line (look no further than teammates and fellow draft disappointments Jason Smith and JD Walton). Hobart is no football factory, but at least Marpet played in some semblance of a pro-style offense there.

  22. PRBucFan Says:

    How is this a story lol

  23. PRBucFan Says:

    Obviously lol

  24. WS99 Says:

    I think he’ll be our starting center by late this year or early next year. I think we have 2-3 guys who can play ahead of him right now omameh, Allen or phampile. I’d stick with omameh or Allen.

  25. Joe Says:

    99 may be on the right track. Marpet has practiced at center and Licht has publicly stated he could play center. EDS is terribly overpaid.

    Do the math.

  26. Buc4life1979 Says:

    Hey Joe, wouldn’t Marpet have to beat out the gr8 Garret Gilkey to play center in place of EDS?? 😉

  27. lurker Says:

    it’s a crapshoot, just like jameis american sniper christ. he has the same experience as a pro as jameis and is more athletic! jameis has a learning curve, too, and seems to be making more mistakes.

  28. Joe Says:

    Hey Joe, wouldn’t Marpet have to beat out the gr8 Garret Gilkey to play center in place of EDS??

    No idea. Marpet has yet to take a snap with pads on.

  29. LakelandBuc Says:

    Ali Marpet biggest obstacle is not coming from a Division 3 program to the NFL, his biggest challenge is moving from Left Tackle to Guard. I believe the Bucs should cross train him at Guard and Center and not rush him, he will be a good football player in the NFL.

  30. John benenati Says:

    I’d like to see the bucs sign mathis cause they got the money and he would be a great fit. The have Ali come in and give mankins n mathis a break. But I also feel if we have to go with ali, he’s got the size, athletic ability, and could start and progress throughout the season. Go Ali! !! And you can’t compare him to someone else. There’s only 1 Ali Marpet and he’s a 2nd round pick for the bucs. He’ll be fine.

  31. Buc1987 Says:

    Man if this guy succeeds…I can see lots and lots of Marpet jersey’s being sold over the coming years…

    I might be one of them.