Lay Off Donovan Smith!

January 27th, 2016
Lay off Donovan Smith!

Undeserved criticism.

You just can’t please some Bucs fans. Take the offensive line of the Bucs, specifically rookie left tackle Donovan Smith.

To hear some Bucs fans, the Bucs have the second coming of the human hands-to-the-face penalty Kenyatta Walker on their hands. Where this concept came from is a mystery to Joe.

Actually, Joe has an idea. It’s the feces factory of Pro Football Focus, which pumps out its share of sewage this time of the year with grades coming from guys who not only have no clue what players’ assignments were, but the chief manure spreader was a minor league baseball pitcher.

These guys claim Smith was atrocious. Of course, if PFF claims as such, it must be, right?

Well, Joe actually spends time with folks employed in the NFL for a living. Some actually have a clue to what they are talking about when it comes to player evaluation. Joe spoke with a few last week at the East-West Shrine Game practices in St. Petersburg, and Joe didn’t find one who though Smith was garbage. In fact, most think was promising.

Look, Joe’s not saying Smith will make people forget Anthony Munoz, but for a rookie playing at one of the toughest positions in football, he held his own. So a rookie had 10 penalties in 16 games? Time to cut him, geez!

(Please note the sarcasm.)

In fact, one of the most well-respected talent evaluators is no less an authority than NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. When Joe asked him to grade Smith, Mayock didn’t hold back.

“I thought he did a nice job,” Mayock told Joe. “He’s a very talented kid. Going forward does he have to make a big jump this year? Sure, but every second year player should.”

All Joe knows is defensive ends struggled against Smith, while Smith struggled picking up blitzes from linebackers.

Look, we are talking about a left tackle who blocked for the second-leading rusher in the NFL, All-Pro running back Doug Martin, and for a Pro Bowl quarterback, America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, who was sacked a total of 27 times, fourth-lowest in the NFL.

Let Joe ask you something: How did J.J. Watt do against Smith this season? Joe rests his case.

22 Responses to “Lay Off Donovan Smith!”

  1. HFXBUC Says:

    He’s the second coming of Donald Penn. Fans are trying to replace him look for faults vs just appreciating the end results. He’s the second coming of Paul Gruber. May never go to a pro bowl but he’ll be steady, he’ll never be the weak link and he’ll be more appreciated by coaches than fans.

  2. John Herb Says:

    Thanks Joe. I agree. Was DS elite this year? Absolutely not but does he show promise? You bet your bippy he does. Look he was a rookie. EVERY rookie makes mistakes and when your job is to protect a franchise QB from getting slobber knocked and you make a mistake you are SUPPOSED to hold! Trust me. Barring injury this kid will be above average next year.

  3. No_Bucs_Given Says:

    He gets owned by speed. If he’s speed rushed and can’t push the end past the qb he’s beat every time. Those feet are slow as molasses…

  4. BucTrooper Says:

    I thought the penalties were a problem, but I don’t remember him getting beat/embarrassed all that often this season. I played OL in high school and it’s pretty evident when someone gets used like a drunken prom queen. The big offenders were Evan Smith and Gosder Cherilus (or however you spell it, I’m not looking it up).

  5. Bradinator Says:

    I loved Smith before the draft and was ecstatic that we landed him. Yeah, he needs some work, but played waaaay better than anyone we had the year before (Collins I’m looking at you!). PFF is staffed with nerds that write these weird assessments while making their Star Trek costumes for the next big convention. Been watching the NFL since I was a kid and never needed stat geek breakdowns to figure out what I was seeing.

  6. destro44 Says:

    So he struggled with Blitzes, I don’t know the protection assignment still I cant judge that, but man v man he held his own in pass protection. In run blocking which the stat guys ignore he was pretty darn good. He owned most pass rush specialists in run blocking which helped by getting sub packages in on 1st downs. Part of our success on 1st downs is because there was little pass rush and our run blocking was strong.

  7. OneBuc55 Says:

    D.Smith was solid at LT Imho…That said, I think he could be the best RT in the league if he ever made the switch…

  8. theodore Says:

    Joe – There was another OT you were high on who was available at that slot. What was his grade?

  9. scott fitzgerald Says:

    Good stuff Joe. Im a big fan of D Smith he did fine for a rookie but hopefully he can make that jump. He played the most snaps and was the highest graded of all the rookie LTs but highest graded was still a low score

  10. R.O. Says:

    I’m fine with DS’s rookie season, needs to make strides this year. Wrong comparison player of Paul Gruber. Nothing like Paul Gruber.. Not even close.

  11. Beatle_Goose Says:

    JJ Watt doesn’t generally line up on the blindside, so it’s not as though they battled every down. I do think he did a great job for a rookie, but come on Joe, we lost that game. Also, Gosder and the interior lineman spent the majority of the day keeping Watt at bay.

  12. BUCSJUNKIE Says:

    Bradinator Says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 8:59 am
    PFF is staffed with nerds that write these weird assessments while making their Star Trek costumes for the next big convention.

    This is an instant classic! Nicely done!

  13. DB55 Says:

    I watched week 17 vs Carolina last night and DSmith completed owned Jared Allen and Luke Lickthese, sure he held Luke (a little bit) but he didn’t get called for it. Did I mention he completed owned Jared Allen?

    This kid is a star in the making. And his run blocking is superior. #twothumbsup

  14. Jbeachbuc Says:

    Donovan Darius, Jon Henderson, Marcus Stroud ,and Rashean Mathis all underrated IMO, but you are right, no superstars. They Played solid team defense for sure .

    I Spent many years in Jacksonville before moving back to the bay area three years ago.

  15. Jbeachbuc Says:

    Oops wrong post. Lol

  16. Pick6 Says:

    to appreciate donovan smith, you have to look at tape of some of the other rookie tackles in recent years. many purported stud college tackles struggle out of the gate…some even get moved to Guard or from LT to RT to be less of a liability, and some high picks have even failed to play their way onto the field as rookies. all Donovan did was take every single snap and face some of the league’s more feared pass rushers along the way

  17. lurker Says:

    Fans knew of and appreciated Paul Gruber. That is a premature comparison.

  18. Thibs5599 Says:

    Smith is a beast but just curious on how many sacks he actually gave up? Does anybody know. I think no matter what he’s got a bright future ahead of him and is a mammoth of a left tackle that I’m excited to have on this team. Worse case scenario he moves to right tackle and has a long career, or as I see it stays right where he’s at and keeps getting better.

  19. godzilla13 Says:

    Donovan Smith definitely had his ups and downs in his rookie season. The upside is the experience he gained going up against some of the NFL’s best defenders. He held his own against Jason Pierre-Paul, Jadeveon Clowney and JJ Watt while struggling against the likes of Cameron Jordan, Robert Mathis and Ryan Delaire. Donovan Smith was a dominate run blocker who had difficulty with edge speed rushers and at times would lose his focus. In the Colts game alone, Smith gave up seven QB hits. Old foggie Jared Allen looked good going against Donovan when he collected three hurries and four stops in the run game. Even though Pro Football Focus has Smith ‘s overall ranking very low, the website, dedicated to providing high-level statistics and analysis said Donovan Smith was the second-best offensive tackle in the league during Week 4, right above Cleveland’s eight-time Pro Bowler, Joe Thomas. PFF also commented after the second Atlanta game that Donovan Smith had a career day against the Falcons and that he had begun to hit his stride and was looking more comfortable working well, off his blocks.The big positive about all of this is that its all behind us and because of the experience, he is going to be a much improved player this year.

  20. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Check-out Smith on Arron Donald in the second to last .gif

  21. James Walker Says:

    I think Smith played very well for a rookie. Clean up the penalties, read blitzes better, get stronger, and improve his technique and we just may have the best LT since Penn.

  22. JBF Addict Says:

    I totally agree with you, Joe!