Remember Ben Bartch

January 23rd, 2020

A Jason Licht player ID’ed.

Yeah, you likely never heard the name before, Ben Bartch. Joe didn’t until last night.

But Joe just has a hunch he could be on the Bucs roster come this spring.

Last night Joe was watching a brief recap of the Senior Bowl practices on NFL Network and caught Bengals general manager Duke Tobin talking to the NFL Network gang about a player that caught his eye. It happened to be an obscure offensive lineman.

Tobin explained he always likes to see how small school players, when practicing against guys from the Power-5 schools, can handle themselves in the Senior Bowl practices and game.

Tobin mentioned “this offensive lineman from St. John’s (Minn.)” who, per Tobin, held his own quite well when facing top-shelf talent for the first time.

This caught Joe’s attention. For it was back in 2015 that a Division-III offensive tackle shocked the coaches and front office suits at the Senior Bowl with how he handled the big boys from the big schools. That player was Ali Marpet, who has been a fixture on the Bucs offensive line since Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht drafted him in the second round.

Why does Joe bring up Bartch? Well, if there is a pattern with Licht and his drafts, other than he prioritizes personality, Licht seems to love small school offensive linemen. And Licht also likes guys who show up at the Senior Bowl practices. Perhaps because when Licht, an offensive lineman himself, transferred out of Nebraska, he became a small school lineman himself.

Now Joe doesn’t believe drafting a small school lineman is a mortal sin. If a guy can play, he can play. For example, there’s a guy from Eastern Illinois University who will be starting at quarterback in next month’s Super Bowl.

For a lot of football fans, however, drafting small school linemen drives them nuts.

You know the type: the guy down the street who wears tank tops and jorts, has a five-day growth of stubble, his hands, arms and face perpetually tanned and prune-like from years of nicotine use, takes a heavy drag of his Marlboro and softly growls, “Why, if a player ain’t from the SEC he ought not to be playing.”

Now Bartch, 6-6, 306, is projected as a guard by Who knows, would the Bucs move fellow small school guard Alex Cappa to tackle to replace Demar Dotson and fill the right guard spot with Bartch?

34 Responses to “Remember Ben Bartch”

  1. Steven007 Says:

    The guy down the street you described would never say “ought not”. Just saying.

  2. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Joe always struggles when trying to paint a picture like that 007.

    Makes me want to throw my remote control at my dog and then head down to Abe’s Place for some cold Bud Light and delicious wings.

  3. Buczilla Says:

    You can never have too many good linemen on both sides of the ball.

  4. coach Says:

    joe whats wrong with you? the guy down the street also must have tats,pimples,fat,bad breath,dirty nails,old,bald and a hunch back and has no clue

  5. Adrnagy Says:

    Licht, an offensive lineman himself?

    Wow. And he’s in control of the roster and has this oline. No wonder … it’s a reflection of him.

  6. Adrnagy Says:

    John Lynch = 49ers defense.
    Jason licht = Demar Dotson

  7. DoooshLaRue Says:

    coach Says:
    January 23rd, 2020 at 12:37 am
    joe whats wrong with you? the guy down the street also must have tats,pimples,fat,bad breath,dirty nails,old,bald and a hunch back and has no clue

    How dare you talk about ndog’s life partner like that.

  8. TampaTown Says:

    Joe- do you live in or did you grow up in a trailer park? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). You paint an oddly specific picture of your neighbor but for some reason I can only think about what his teeth look like.

  9. Joe Says:

    You paint an oddly specific picture of your neighbor but for some reason I can only think about what his teeth look like.

    Mix of professionals and blue collar.

    One neighbor, she’s a psychologist. Another, he and his wife are ex Vegas cops (you should hear the stories!). One neighbor is a prison guard. Two other neighbors are county sheriff’s deputies. Another neighbor works in the medical profession.

  10. bogiedr Says:

    2 for 2, Marpet / Cappa! I’d love to see Runyon Jr. in a Bucs uniform, but if Bartch is the pick, by now, gotta trust JL with small school o linemen! Just get BRIDGEWATER!!!!!!!

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … “Mix of professionals and blue collar.” Psychologist? Four cops & a prison guard? Medical person? Wow Joe, you do know that you just opened Pandora’s Box to this crowd, right?

  12. Buc'n Enough Says:

    Licht Sucks

    End of story…he will probably draft Robbie Aquyo in the second round.
    Licht is NO GENIUS by drafting small school O-lineman. Just an idiot.

    Licht had a head start on John Robinson and John Lynch.
    We continue to suck…

    We will continue to suck and this team will still be void of talent as long as he in the GM and the scouting office remains the same.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    For some strange reason I get intrigued by offensive, defensive & S/T snaps (still don’t know why, except that maybe it’s an indication of durability & what the coaches think of you?).

    FootballOutsiders lists the NFL leader in total snaps as being the Falcons’ Jake Matthews – 1260 total snaps (79 average snaps/game).

    The #2 leader in total snaps? Ali Marpet – 1247 total snaps (78 average snaps/ game). His total included 88 S/Ts snaps BTW (I never think of guys like Marpet playing S/Ts for some reason).

    Ali may not have made the Pro Bowl or All-Pro (yet), but he’s a guy you can depend on, game-in & game-out, to ‘show up’ and give you his all. Small college or not, that’s a BEAST.

    Interestingly, not very far down the list were 4 more Bucs: Lavonte David (1168 total snaps), Ryan Jensen (1159 total snaps) and Donovan Smith (1153 total snaps). And oh ya, Jameis Winston with 1149 total snaps. All of them are getting paid big bucks, but they’re all showing up for work … a lot.

  14. stpetebucsfan Says:

    OL and DL are the the hardest to find because of simple numbers.

    There are a gazillion 6-1 210 lb guys walking the streets. Obviously talent matters but if you have 1000 6-1 210 guys to develop and select but only a 100 FREAKS that can play line in the NFL…6-6 250 lb guys and larger…obviously it’s easier to find players in the larger universe than the needle in a haystack.

    I’m with Joe on this one. Not sure why everybody is so down on our OL.
    Marpet and Donovan are good technicians and solid players. Jensen and Cappa have talent and any lack seems to be offset by their grit…playing with a broken arm in the violent trenches!!! We have 4 of the 5 positions covered!
    And the good news…afraid to say this because of superstition but they’ve all been durable and show that most critical of abilities….availability.

    We are 80% there…we need just one more part and some depth. If this Bartch kid can provide some depth while he’s being developed as did Cappa his rookie year then we go get one of those giant tackles.

    This is supposed to be a great year for big mean tackles. If there is a run on QB’s at the top of the draft…and enough Chase Youngs to grab spots we may get a generational OT which would complete our line.

    Add a smashmouth RB to complement ROJO…spend a little more time working on it BL…and we could actually establish a solid if not spectacular running game. We seem to have found our D last year if we can keep them all…now this year we find our OL and have what for the Bucs would be a renaissance in the trenches. I LOVE it!

  15. Bucs Guy Says:

    I believe the biggest knock on our OL is in those short yardage situations when everyone knows we’re going to run, they don’t get the needed surge.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I, for one think Jason should quit while he is ahead……let’s pick a proven RT prospect that has played well against tough competition….there are plenty out there.
    Sure, if you can pick up a small school Olineman later in the draft…..rounds 4 & down… it……but don’t invest a round 1-3 pick on one.
    We need a plug & play player to replace Dotson…..and we also need some depth.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Agreed, if we could get a guy like this in rounds 4-6. There are a few vet FA’s we could look to sign to start in 2020, if Dotson isn’t brought back.

  18. Swampbuc Says:

    Let’s let Cappa be Cappa. He’s just starting to learn the guard position pretty well for a small school guy in the NFL. No need to move him to another learning curve. Go get a Tackle. Simple.

  19. 813bucboi Says:

    we need to come out of this draft with 2OLs and 2DLs with a RB and FS…..PERIOD!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  20. Hodad Says:

    Ali Marpet the small school lineman who’s never made a pro bowl, or all pro but in the minds of delusional Buc fans. Cappa the small school gem who’s still developing. Licht loves him some projects. Instead of trying to find a small school nobody who holds his own at the senior bowl, why not just draft a kid who’s done it at a high level from a big time program? Holding your own at the senior bowl isn’t the same as dominating at the pro level. Joe, and Licht don’t get it.

  21. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree….

    cappa developed nicely at RG… need to move him imo….

    marpet went thru the same thing….RG, C, LG….

    do we really want to experiment with the right side of the o-line?…..

    keep cappa at RG but let him take some reps at RT in TC for depth…..draft a RT, draft a G/C and maybe sign a RT…..

    dont give the rookies anything….they gotta take it….make em earn it, just like cappa….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  22. Pewter power Says:

    Doesnt mean he will produce at a starter level because he is holding his own against other college players. They dont need a developmental player they need a bonafide starter I doubt BA expects anything except playoffs and a small school guy wouldn’t make me feel all that comfortable

  23. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Question: Would 11 and 12 on this list be an improvement from number 10 (because of age and run blocking)? May be affordable options.

  24. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Licht is a terrible evaluator that has gotten lucky 1 time; don’y out think yoru self watch SEC or Clemson teams that run the ball or block against the auburn DL and if anyone does good against them then look for them; weird how licht is the dummy in the room doing this and the bucs are terrible under his watch

  25. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Problem is that choosing a player from 1-11 Southeastern North Dakota State in the 2nd round is the exact same price you pay for a MVP player from a undefeated National Championship team playing in a premier conference against top notch talent in some real pressure cooker games.

    Let the top college programs rout out the best high school talent and due diligence on their family back rounds. Let the colleges spend a fortune on their physical training. Let the colleges educate them to be great citizens and team mates while weeding out the losers and mentally deficient. (see Ohio State-Noah Spence). Notice how the Saints filled their roster with Ohio State Alums.

    The small school projects are only great picks when selected in the 5th round or later. (see Snoop McPlaybook).

    I remember seeing SMLB’s highlight reel, yes they have highlight reels for marginal players on 1-11 D4 teams, he was consistantly out of position (lost). His opponents were chucking the football as far and as high as they could letting SMLB’s speed let him catch up. He caught some lucky bounces that way, but the luckiest bounce he got was a miraculous reach by the Gumpster Fire in the 2nd round. Two picks before the legendary CB from Clemson. Of course, Mike Mayock doesn’t know anything about the NFL Draft.

    Choosing SMLB in the 6th round would have been a value pick but then again he would have probably been cut in the pre-season.

  26. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The same Sean Murphy-Bunting that was good by the end of the year? Central Michigan isn’t THAT small of a school.

  27. Joe in Michigan Says:

  28. LordCornelius Says:

    “Who knows, would the Bucs move fellow small school guard Alex Cappa to tackle to replace Demar Dotson and fill the right guard spot with Bartch?”

    That would be the Bucs like move to make.

    Take a young guy excelling at a position and instead of letting him continue to develop, we move him to a different position so that we can pencil in some small school mid round prospect as the starter at RG just hoping it all works out lol. What could go wrong lol.

  29. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    “Central Michigan isn’t THAT small of a school.”

    So you are really going to compare the 1-11 2018 Central Michigan Chipmunks against the undefeated Clemson Tigers 2018 National Championship team?

    In what way exactly do they compare?

  30. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The same Sean Murphy-Bunting who made the NFL All-Rookie team? I didn’t see Darrell Henderson on there.
    Just because player A is on Clemson, and player B is on Central Michigan, it doesn’t necessarily make player A better. Otherwise, Gaines Adams would be in the Hall of Fame. Can we agree on that?

  31. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Darrell Henderson got red-shirted.

    Gaines Adams is dead.

    Can we agree on that?

  32. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Yes, we can agree on that. D Henderson will probably be good in that offense once he gets his chance.

  33. Kord Says:

    Looking at Barron and Howard, one would think we should stop drafting Alabama players, but that’s just me. My Ewu keeps producing talent, Cooper Kupp, Samson ebukam, and Kendrick Bourne who will be playing in the Super Bowl. School size means nothing

  34. catcard202 Says:

    Joe, winner winner chicken dinner… You nailed it.

    This Bartch guy can play…He’s big, got a good nasty streak in him & fits the Licht mold of small OL draft picks to a tee…No doubt he is on TB big board w/ mid-round ….(not a NFL OT…33″ arms limit him to IOL)

    Big redhead MN farm boy (rocking flaming locks), that looks like Jensen & Cappa’s lost baby brother.

    However, I’m leaning more toward Licht sending ticket in for a different small school OL in this draft… Sc.St. RT Alex Taylor looks like a solid Day3 developmental value pick…6’9″ 310 36″ arms 11″ hands – more athletic & nimble than you’d think (basketball background)…Raw tools are all there to develop into future starter…Demar Dotson body type clone.