Bucs Trust Donovan Smith to Protect Jameis Winston’s Blindside


Jun 4, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Donovan Smith (76) blocks defensive end Jacquies Smith (56) as they work out at One Buc Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Many recommended that left tackle Donovan Smith use the year of eligibility he had left to stay at Penn State after a bad year. But then he killed it in Senior Bowl Week and really heated up as an NFL prospect. Senior Bowl director Phil Savage was among those that came away thoroughly impressed with the 6’6″, 340-pounder.

He told NFL Network, “He came in at 341 pounds, but he flashed the foot agility to play left tackle in the NFL. I think he has future starter written all over him, and he definitely elevated his draft stock here in Mobile during the week.” The Senior Bowl’s evaluation was, “With his long arms and re-direct agility, if he will truly get serious about his craft, Donovan could have a long pro career.”

Smith has since been drafted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers No. 34 overall and his assignment is to protect No. 1 overall Jameis Winston’s blindside. The Buccaneers didn’t protect the quarterback too well last year, surrendering 52 sacks. Head coach Lovie Smith likes what he’s seen in the offseason program and has already named him the starting left tackle.

He told Buccaneers.com, “We’re going to put him at the left tackle position. “For us to do that is saying an awful lot. You know the type of athletes he’ll be blocking. He’s got good size, long arms – smart player with a bright future ahead.” That allows veteran Demar Dotson to go back to right tackle after filling in at left tackle the last three games of 2014.

And with the receivers the Bucs have, all Winston needs is protection.

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