Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Friday, April 22, 2011

Big Choices For Offensive Line

With less than a week to go until the 2011 NFL Draft, we've looked at the possibility of the Buccaneers picking a running back, cornerback, and even considered if Tampa Bay would look favorably on an out-of-favor top flight talent at defensive end.

There is another position which may play heavily into Tampa Bay's first round pick of 2011.  There should be a good group of offensive linemen still on the board when the commissioner puts the Buccaneers on the clock.  And, given recent trends on the offensive line, there are two prospects which might be a perfect fit.

Gabe Carimi (6'7", 314lbs, University of Wisconsin) is considered by some to be the best natural left tackle in the draft, with 49 starts over his college career at the position.  Carimi has also played at guard, but some scouts consider him an NFL right tackle prospect.  In short, the man can play where he is needed.  If you consider he has played against three of the 2011 first round defensive ends (Kerrigan/Purdue, Clayborn/Iowa, Jordan/California) and the Badger's team total of 3,402 yards rushing in 2010, Carimi has solid pedigree and appears to be well prepared for the next level.

Nate Solder (6'8", 319lbs, University of Colorado) was a finalist for the Outland Trophy after playing every down in 2010 and giving up just one sack.  Most likely a right tackle, the man has an 81-inch reach which means it takes a long (, long) time for a defensive player to get around him.  He showed tremendous athleticism at the combine but did not wow with his strength.  He comes from a pro-style, balance offense.

Another offensive lineman who may be there when the Buccaneers make the 20th pick of 2011 is Mike Pouncy, an offensive guard (6'5", 303lbs, University of Forida).  Pouncy is the top rated interior offensive lineman in the 2011 draft, which made him my first round pick in my first Buccaneer Mock Draft.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to pick one of an excellent set of pro prospects if they lay back and let the draft board play out next Thursday night.  They may even get a chance to add another giant up front.

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