More Donovan Smith Hate

February 12th, 2016
The nerds hate him.

The nerds hate him.

Joe has no idea where this narrative was conceived that Donovan Smith is some sort of turnstile. Joe suspects it came from the PFF crowd, which way, way too many people believe is Gospel yet NFL folks (who believe in analytics) snicker at it as if they are little girls baking imaginary cakes in toy ovens.

Joe really likes thoughtful Evan Silva of and has absolutely nothing against him, but it seems even a smart guy like Silva can get caught up in an ugly if not false narrative.

In breaking down team needs as the free agency dinner bell approaches and with the combine just days away, Silva goes all in on Smith, and not in a good way.

Offensive Line: LT Donovan Smith had a brutal rookie season on Jameis Winston’s blind side and would probably be better suited for right tackle or guard. Washed-up RT Gosder Cherilus was similarly ineffective across from him. LG Logan Mankins, who turns 34 in March, is owed $7 million in the last year of his deal. C Evan Dietrich-Smith got benched in favor of Joe Hawley, who was signed off the street in Week 2. Impressive small-school rookie Ali Marpet is the Bucs’ only offensive lineman who should be assured of returning at his starting post.

Look, one of these guys who thinks Smith is so rotten has to sit Joe down with film — not broadcast tape — and demonstrate how Smith is the next Anthony Collins. Joe can tell you the Bucs don’t think this way at all, and neither do NFL folks in general. You know the kind, the guys employed for a living analyzing talent.

(Hint: The guy who runs the football operations for the Bucs is a former offensive lineman himself. If that same guy really thought Smith was as horrible as the numbercrunchers want you to believe, then you would have heard about it by now, on or off the record, or via free-agent signings to cover for Smith.)

Who is the last rookie left tackle starting for a team that allowed fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL, all while guarding a rookie quarterback?

Is Smith perfect? Of course not. He struggles against blitzing linebackers. But go down the list of stud defensive ends he faced one-on-one last season and let Joe know which one owned him. This really isn’t rocket science.

Hell, even the Texans tried J.J. Watt on Smith a few times and Watt did squat against the Bucs.

Again, Smith is a rookie second round draft pick, folks. A. Rookie.

In an era of teams — playoff teams, even — like the Belicheats and the Seahawks and maybe even the Stinking Panthers, begging for offensive linemen, the Bucs hardly have a foot in the grave with Smith at left tackle. And if the Bucs thought Smith would be better at right tackle, Smith would have been moved there.

38 Responses to “More Donovan Smith Hate”

  1. Warren Says:

    Smith and Marpet were beasts…Jameis gets some credit for awareness when the line gets blown up…but as a whole I agree Smith put in way above average performance as a rookie LT

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    Another non-starter. The stats speak for themselves. He’s a decent football player on a BAAAD football team last year, plain and simple.
    I think they refer to this as “the low-hanging fruit” in journalism!

  3. DB55 Says:

    His running blocking is on fleek.

  4. cmurda Says:

    Smith was way better than the stats suggest. He was playing the most difficult position on the offensive line and he played it darn well. My gut says Muscle Hamster is looking to cash in and Licht is wisely not going to break the bank for a 27 year old running back that adds nothing to the passing game. In addition, Sims seems to have turned the corner and is extremely effective out of the backfield. RB’s are essentially a dime a dozen. This story has me more interested than any hate directed at Smith. That’s a non-issue. By the way, Mankins allowed zero sacks last year. Not bad for a guy who gets constantly berated by the media as being washed up.

  5. Lord Says:

    It’s just bad analysis. Guys like Eric Fisher and Greg Robinson struggled hard their rookie years but were top 5 picks so ppl just give them the benefit of the doubt that they’d improve. Smith not as high profile so there is already a dumb pre conceived bias against him.

    And bottom line is you give o lineman time to develop. Usually by 3rd / 4th year you have a better idea and the guy certainly did well enough to be a starter next year and I’m fine with him at LT.

    Still would like to see us draft at least one o lineman this year

  6. Lord Says:

    Bucsfanman obviously did NOT watch the games and notice the insane f*cking obvious difference in o line play between 2014-2015. And yes a big part was improved LT play. Dude shut down a lot of premier DEs but I guess that “stat” isn’t recorded.

  7. D-Rome Says:

    Look, one of these guys who thinks Smith is so rotten has to sit Joe down with film — not broadcast tape — and demonstrate how Smith is the next Anthony Collins. Joe can tell you the Bucs don’t think this way at all, and neither do NFL folks in general. You know the kind, the guys employed for a living analyzing talent.

    Good post Joe. I am seemingly just as baffled as you are when it comes to the Donovan Smith criticism. I thought he had a good rookie year.

    I also don’t buy into this idea that Left Tackles can’t get better as their careers move on. That seems to be the rhetoric from a lot of Donovan Smith bashers. They imply that their rookie year will tell you all about what the rest of their career will look like. I guess that means top guys like Andrew Whitworth hasn’t improved over his career.

  8. Dave Says:

    I have no doubt that they take an OL in round 4-6.
    One in free agency too. Why not? Always try to improve, but if they come back with the same line, they’re in good shape.
    DE and DB – one of each in FA and the first 3 rounds of the draft.
    Also draft another WR.

  9. Dave Says:

    Amy word on how Murphy and Bell are coming along? Pretty important regarding how high they possibly draft another WR and/or grab one in FA.
    Personally I see them drafting one in the first few rounds and resigning VJax.

  10. buc4life1979 Says:

    Do ANY of these mind numbing talking heads even bother to research this team b4 writing any of this crap? I’D LOVE to have a job where all I do is talk and type my own made up crap all day.

  11. Tom S. Says:

    Donovan Smith had a good rookie year. Anyone that comes in and starts all 16 games at LT on a line with the NFL’s 2nd leading rusher and allowing the 4th fewest sacks did well.

    The fact is, a lot of these “journalists” have either never seen a Bucs game or seen one or two all season. They merely regurgitate talking points of other sites like PFF without a clue as to whether it’s accurate or not. I’d love to hear how many full Bucs games Evan Silva saw all year. Since he is a Rams fan I will start the over under at 1.5.

  12. unbelievable Says:

    I don’t get the hate either. Did he have a perfect season? Of course not but he’s a rookie and played pretty damn well. Mankind play was not so good, but his e pertinence and leadership made up for it.

    Does the line still need be improved? Yes. We shouldn’t need to use 6 down lineman as often as we did, but Smith is not the problem. I could even argue that our LT played better than our RTs, and I expect him to play even better next year.

  13. unbelievable Says:

    * Mankins play was not so good, but his experience and leadership made up for it.

    Damn autocorrect

  14. dave Says:

    you crazy guys that think smith is no good, watch a damn bucs game. oline was one of the top groups on the team last yr. smith was a rookie LT and really did a good job. cant believe how many mock draft sites list LT as a top need. so so wrong

  15. Joe Says:

    I have no doubt that they take an OL in round 4-6.

    Safe bet. Bucs understand Cherilus/Dotson aren’t going to be around long.

  16. JollyBucsFan Says:

    Hawley doesnt get enough credit either. No he is not a probowler, but def a solid starter. Fear the Beard

  17. Joe Says:

    Amy word on how Murphy and Bell are coming along?

    No idea about Murphy but a guy his age with a knee injury and his salary (low) doesn’t bode well.

    Am told Bell is the fastest on the team but that doesn’t mean much to Joe (speed does not equate wide receiver talent). Outside of the first two weeks in training camp against beer truck drives and high school football coaches, Bell didn’t do squat. Joe really likes Bell, but Joe’s expectations are very much tempered. Hope he makes it.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There are several issues at play here.

    Is DS a permanent answer to LT…..?
    Do we need to spend a high draft pick on the Oline…..probably no.
    Do we need to acquire a top-tier LT or any Olineman in FA……probably no.
    Do we need to bring in more young depth…..probably yes.

    It seems to me that Mankins is the key to some of these questions….if he stays then Oline can be more of a priority next year….

    If he leaves, we can bring in a LG or LT & move DS to LG.

    All Jameis has to do is whisper in Koetter’s ear that he isn’t happy with his protection and I’m sure changes would be made….I doubt he has or will do that.

  19. Joe Says:

    If he leaves, we can bring in a LG or LT & move DS to LG.

    Not only is there no need, the Bucs will not shuffle the deck.

    If Mankins retires, Pamphile is your starting left guard. Donovan Smith is not a guard. Bucs like Donovan Smith where he is at.

  20. ndog Says:

    Again just more proof that the national media knows nothing about our Bucs.

  21. Phil Says:

    I think Donovan will be OK. Playing left tackle is the second most difficult position to play after quarterback. And the improvement from year one to year two will be drastic. I think he will be fine for many years to come.

  22. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Could we do better at LT? Probably. We could bring in a joe thomas and move smith over to RT. doeant mean we should do that. It’s not like elite LTs are just waiting for the bucs to give them a call. Smith is a middle teir LT as of his rookie year. He will certainly improve next season. Hopefully he comes to camp in shape after working his butt off all off season. But even if he didnt his natural talent is good enough to make him a top 10-20 LT in the league.

    I have no problem with going into the next season with Smith at LT. He deaerves the chance to keep his job after a pretty good rookie year. for all the reasons joe explained, smith did a good job 1 on 1 with some of the elite pass rushers in his league.

    It’s hard for me to justify criticizing anyone on our o line too much. We had some of the best o line play last season than we’ve had in maybe a decade. And part of that is Winston and part is Martin, but a lot is on the o line its self.

    With all that said, Joe hawley and the center position could maybe use an immediate upgrade. He had a tough time against some of the better interior d lines. I have no idea what the market is like for a C. But i wouldnt mind spending a 2nd or 3rd on a new C, if there is one worth drafting.

  23. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I’m actually fine with people outside Tampa thinking we need Offensive Line. Maybe that will stop teams from jumping ahead of us in the draft for a stud DE.

  24. biff barker Says:

    Saw this piece on RW when it came out. It’s tripe.

    Super excited over how well he played as a rookie because LT is a brutal place to start in this league. He’s only going to get better.

  25. dougie Says:

    he was solid the oline was solid what are these nerds watching?!

  26. LargoBuc Says:

    The entire oline was better than expected. Alot of it was due to improved qb play, but Smith, Marpet and Hawley were all massive upgrades. We have good young play makers, a good young qb and a good young o line. Overall we have young core on offense, a core that would benefit from a couple high profile free agents to push them over the top. Maybe a slot receiver and a rt.
    Off topic, alot of national types say Jameis benefited from a strong running game. But I think the running game benefited from Jameis. How ineffective was our running game the last two years when we had squat at qb. The last time Doug Martin had a productive year was his rookie year. The same year Freeman threw for 4000 yards and 27 td’s. The strong passing game helped open up the running game. And the same thing happened last year. With Mccown and Glennon, defenses could simply stack the box and our qb couldnt take advantage. But Jameis came in and was able to take advantage of the 8 man box, forcing defenses to move a safety up and put the lb’s in different coverages to slow down the passing game and that gave Martin room to run. The resulted was a balanced offense that could match and adjust with NFL defenses. All stemming from a rookie! My point being that you dont hear that at all from the national outlets, its always “Oh, Jameis was good. BUT he benefited from a strong running game”…No. It goes both ways.

  27. Stanglassman Says:

    I mentioned this last week but it’s worth repeating that I saw D. Smith at the grocery store a few weeks back and ask what he was doing still in Tampa and he said he is staying here to work all off season.

  28. unbelievable Says:

    Cool story stanglassman. I think the hunger and work ethic of Jameis and Kwon have rubbed off on all the other rookies, and maybe even some of the vet guys.

  29. JabooBuc Says:

    I like the idea of signing at least one big time free agent DE and then potentially a solid FA Guard and CB. This was we can go best player available in round 1 which potentially could be another Tackle. Having two book end tackles, a solid guard and Jameis for the next 5 to 10 years would be a great luxury.

  30. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I would rather sign a big time FA DE, AND draft a big time DE with our first pick.

    We won’t take a CB in the first round, btw. Guard? Maybe…its all about protecting Winston.

  31. The Real Malloy Says:

    Agreed Joe….I don’t get the D Smith hate. Kid is a rookie and a beast. Id bet some coin Smith is a Pro Bowler is 3rd or 4th season.

    Keep hating on us national media and otherwise….under the radar is how we prefer.

    Playoffs 2016……write it down

  32. bucs4life86 Says:

    D. Smith played well for a ROOKIE. Let’s slow down before we start labeling him as the next Kenyetta walker folks. LT is a very difficult position to learn as a rookie. This guy held his own against the best DE in this league. Having mankind next to him helped out dearly while loan pointed out everything to him in pre snap. He will only continue to improve through his carrer. LT and QB are one of the hardest positions to full on your team and it looks like the bucs did that all in one draft so give the man some time because franchise LT don’t grow on trees folks. If he does work out the bucs struck gold in this draft class.

  33. rayjay1122 Says:

    He was a freaking rookie. He will improve each season and especially under better coaching and loftier expectations. No, he is not going to be a pro bowler but he can be a solid starter.

  34. Bob in Valrico Says:

    @largo buc
    it works both ways.Good running game opens up the passing game.And there is no Question that Doug Martin and Charles Sims did their part to kickstart the
    offense many times.I want to see Sims utilized more in the passing game he has great hands and a nose for the endzone.We wasted to much time trying to complete wheel routes To doug and Rainey. they are both shorter than most DB’s and don’t have that type of receiving skills.

  35. Bob in Valrico Says:

    As for Donovan Smith,somebody is blowing smoke up his own butt if he thinks he can predict the growth of Donovan Smith.Both backs averaging
    almost 5 yards a carry.The whole line is responsible for that.Passblocking
    accounted for 4000 yards.We have many more glaring needs on the other side of the ball.

  36. JTHB Says:

    I just did the roster update on Madden 16 and Donovan Smith gets no love there either being rated a 68 Overall with bad pass block and awareness ratings.

    I’m with Joe, it’s almost like the PFF guys pick players to hate and just pounce as this kid was fine at LT and simply needs more experience there. But ultimately I’d like to see us draft a Franchise LT and move him to RT next to Ali.

    I guess the Madden Rating makers didnt watch a single Bucs game either.

  37. godzilla13 Says:

    Donovan Smith came in 71 of 77 players ranked by PFF. Now I understand how little value Joe and some of his readers give to PFF on how they grade players during games but you have to realize that each player is evaluated using the same format. His scouting report suggests that he will be overmatched early in his NFL career due to his lack of speed and agility. His lack of foot speed and athleticism will force him to step down to play a weaker position in the NFL (right tackle or guard). I am just saying maybe they are right? Winston struggled in games we lost mostly due to pressure. Does anyone not remember what Ryan Delaire did or what the Rams did to the entire OL? Joe even mentioned that during the game in Indy that he keyed on Smith and that other than problems with blitzing LB’s he did fine? Smith gave up 8 QB hits in that game?

  38. Lamdog Says:

    Donovan: Ignore the noise.