“The Big Dude, He’s Great Now”

January 30th, 2017
Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith

Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith

A respected veteran Pro Bowler who faced Donovan Smith this year gave Joe quite a scouting report last night.

And yes, the too-big club of Smith haters will despise this post.

With 73 career sacks in nine seasons, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril has seen it all in the NFL. And this year might have been his best. Coming off an 11 1/2-sack season, Avril headed to his first Pro Bowl last night.

Afterwards, the straight-shooter and renowned humanitarian talked to Joe about various NFL topics. One was Smith, the second-year Bucs left tackle who has yet to miss a snap.

Avril is impressed.

“The big dude, he’s great now,” Avril said of Smith. “He uses his hands real well. His height is an asset and he knows how use it. He does good things overall, as well. For tackles, the biggest thing is being disciplined, and he’s coming around with that. I saw it on film and then you face him. He can make things difficult for you.”

Avril asked how old Smith was, and Joe replied 23. “Man, he’s far along already,” Avril said.

Joe hopes this shuts up the loud stat-nerds and amateur offensive line coaches — at least for a while — who think Smith is a weak left tackle getting weaker.

Here’s yet another real football man giving Smith a strong grade.

31 Responses to ““The Big Dude, He’s Great Now””

  1. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Agreed. I like Donovan. I think the main reason’s people hate on him so much, are A. the backwards PFF crowd that routinely tries to make it out as if he is one of the worst in the League. And B. He gets penalized a bit too frequently. I’d say if he can cut down on his false starts and holding penalties as he continues to develop, that would go along way towards winning the fanbase over.

    Personally I think that Smith, Marpet, and Pamphile will anchor our line for coming years.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    If Sweezy can return, he is a read road grader when healthy. It was really too bad about Carl Nicks, who faithfully protected Drew Brees for many years in New Orleans. The only good that came out of him coming to Tampa was, my company got to clean his tile roof in Odessa, so he could sell his home here.
    Then we have Aaron Sears, remember him ?
    He could also have been great, if not for his problems.

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    @blake…I agree…I’ve always liked smith and never understood the criticism…this is his second year….he’s only going to get better….he just has to cut down on the penalties…..GO BUCS!!!!

  4. Joeypoppems Says:

    Love to see Bucs players getting love from around the league. We got a good thing going

  5. LakeLandBuc Says:

    I never said the problem was at LT. I have always believed that we are weak at the “Center” position, as well as RT. I believed we should have drafted Laremy Tunsil for O-Line depth, because he is capable for playing multiple positions on the Line.

  6. BuccaneerByBirth Says:

    Donovan will be fine. LT is a hell of a position

  7. DallasBuc Says:

    The whitewashing of the poor oline play continues. Jason Licht thanks you!

  8. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    D.Smith,Sweezy,Mongo,Hawley and Dot gone be nasty together next season. Run will game return to fleek like it was in 2015. Bank it.

  9. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    See what I find funny is dude’s talk this and talk that about people that actually play and then you hear from people that actually play against them and I hear the direct opposite man. So many talent evaluators on jbf. Makes me wonder why some of you are not employed by he NFL.

  10. Pickgrin Says:

    I don’t see much in the way of “hating” on Donovan.

    The OT position WAS a bit of a problem this year for the Bucs – more so on the right side, but Smith had too many protection breakdowns and penalties to be considered “good” yet.

    He’s young – I’m sure he will get better. At least he’s got most of the tools to get there regarding size, athleticism etc and has gotten as much experience as is possible in his 1st 2 years.

    Bottom line is that realistically Donovan Smith is our LT for the forseeable future. Its usually very hard and very expensive ($ or top 10 draft pick) to acquire a stud LT. Smith has progressed well enough that we have to concentrate on upgrading other spots and its nice that we have him under rookie contract for 2 more years.

    That said, a QB like Jameis Winston deserves a long term investment of a top 5 or at least top 10 LT protecting his blindside. Donovan is obviously not playing at that level yet and I have my doubts as to whether or not he will ever be able to….

  11. The Buc Realist Says:

    The truth of the matter is that this O-line, which was supposed to be a Run-blocking, play-action O-line was in more pure pass protection than they were designed to be in!!!! Having said that, I thought their pass protection was better than what I had them graded as!!! It can take years of development for some players and as long as their is growth I am fine with it!!!!

    But I am also fine with talk of moving players to make the best O-line the Bucs have ever had!!!! If getting a LT and moving DS76 to RT and AM74 to center and Jr Sweezy at and KP64/free agent at guard. DD69 as backup Tackle, and KP64/free agent!!!!

    Once again, put the best line out on the field for years to come!!!!!

  12. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    What Realist!!! just said yo. And I agree Joe they must all work for the Browns.

  13. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    NOSBOS….yeah like you I agree with Realist…IF we actually got an upgrade over DS before moving him.

    Still soooo many questions about our OL. First and foremost is Sweezy ever going to play again? If he returned at his former ability that really changes things. Marpet goes to center…and the only position where we absolutely need a fix would be RT…love Dot but he’s done…maybe as depth..and Gosder just needs to retire.

    Whatever happens…I hope we have it all figured out by the opening of training camp. I would like a chance for our Oline to get set positions and begin to develop some chemistry and the teamwork critical to successful Oline play.

    Of course if we get your guy Dalvin then Realists point about being set up for a run blocking play action pass group would be fine.

  14. Buc1987 Says:

    lol Realist I was kinda of thinking that myself. It takes time to develop some of these guys on the o-line. Especially LT. The kid’s been there what 2 years?

    Give it time people. They could shift some guys here and there.

  15. Kevin Says:

    Anyone writting off smith already is a fool….dotson on the other hand has hit his ceiling and we need an upgrade on his side

  16. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    I can’t argue Dot can be upgraded.

  17. Nick2 Says:

    I have never thought Smith was bad especially for his age. Some tackles take years and he seems to hold his own with the exception of some games. Now with Avril saying this a lot of people can just shut up. If we take a left tackle number one in the draft I will throw up.

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    I’m not 100% sold on Smith, but our weakness is smack dab in the middle. Without a better center there is not going to be a pocket no matter how good your tackles are.

  19. Chargedcbh Says:

    What do you expect him to say, Donovan sucks!!! C’mon Joe…..

  20. BigHogHaynes Says:

    I concur with The Realist, CONTINUE TO BUILD A WALL! But not in Mexico Dumb ass!!!

  21. 813bucboi Says:

    so some of you expect d.smith to tyron smith, Jason peters, trent Williams after his rookie year?….give me a break….the man just finished his second year….we need to upgrade the middle of our oline…

    LG- sweezy
    C- marpet
    RG- ron leary
    RT-k. pamphile

    GO BUCS!!!

  22. 813bucboi Says:


  23. Owlykat Says:

    Of course Averil prefers we not improve at LT. It is their only hope of beating us in the future. Move Smith to RG where Lindys said was his best position when he was drafted. Move our RG to Center where we can’t be Bull rushed anymore, and put Sweezy at RG where he played for the Seahawks. Let Dot and our former LG fight it out to play RT in the preseason and the loser is the Tackle backup and Our present Center Hawley can backup Center and Guard along with our UCLA Rookie from last year. Pick up another OL in the draft like
    Lamp from the Senior Bowl and let the other expensive OL free agents go. Move up in the first round for FSU’s RB and take Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M WR in the Second Round, give up the third pick to move up in draft and grab Dante Davis, Tenn. Chattanooga 270 Lb DE in the fourth, and Montravious Adams, Auburn DT, 308 lbs, in the fifth, and hopefully Lamp in the sixth or best OL if he is not there and take a TE in the seventh rd which is a very, very deep position.
    Get a top Safety in free agency and maybe another RB same way.

  24. The Buc Realist Says:


    Tell them the truth!!!! Tell them how the wall is going to pay for itself!!!! Tell them that its not to keep people out, but to charge a toll for the stuff coming in!!!!!

    The O-line needs TE and Rb to contribute as well!!!! a true #2 will help keep the down and distance down easier to convert as well!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!

  25. Joseph Mamma Says:

    I don’t think he even knew what guy he was even talking about? “That big dude” could be any tackle or even any lineman on the team or league for that matter. What team has a small dude for a LT? And talk about a ringing endorsement, he can make life difficult for you. Every left tackle in the NFL can make life difficult for defensive lineman, that’s there only purpose whatsoever.

  26. Joeypoppems Says:

    Adams in the 5th round and more importantly Lamp in the 6th are kind of crazy. I can see them going Day 2

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:


  28. FutureBucsGM Says:

    Should ask Connor Barwin as well, I’ll never forget seeing Mr.Smith put them big paws on him. Donovan will be fine. Remember everyone wanted Donald Penn gone as well and he was selected to pro bowl this year. O-Line is fine, anybody that says otherwise is well, already in rehab.. too soon?

  29. Capt.Tim Says:

    Again- so many absolutely clueless posters.
    You just had a Pro bowl DE say Smith was playing great, then a bunch of posters here- who couldn’t pick out the Left tackle on a formation – starting saying that they doubt he will be a good Tackle.

    Like I said about Penn, in a couple more years- Smith will be a probowler

    And for all of madden players, who keep saying we should swith Smith to RT.
    Do any of you have any Idea of the salary difference between LT and RT?

    Smith is a talented YOUNG LT. Hes not gonna switch to RT, and lose all that Money!! He would demand a trade, and go somewhere that isnt full of idiots!

    What is it about posters here? They ALWAYS hate white safeties and LTs!!

    Smith, Sweezy, (new guy), Marpet, and Pamphile gives us a talented young line, that will only get better as they grow together.

    Licht has done an outstanding job

  30. JAB83 Says:

    Well if you never miss a snap….. Thats a lot of snaps….. Analytics looses its value the more the statistics you try to analysis and combine….

    D Smith equals Analytic NIGHTMARE…

    So I propose this to combat the PFF and GP hater crowd… D. Smith should be give a nickname. Something that rivals “Refrigerator” Perry.

    Im going with the above…. Analytic NIGHTMARE D Smith

  31. orlbucfan Says:

    Great offensive lines don’t develop overnight. They take time and patience. Just look at the legendary ones like the Redskins had back in the Joe Theismann days. DK’s offense already is becoming the best one in Bucs history. It’saalso YOUNG!! Give it a rest, whiners!! Sheesh!