Top Four Centers Bucs Can Target in 2015

Part one addressed guards, part two tackles, now lets look at centers who may help Bucs for 2015.

As one of the weak spots of the team, the offensive line as a whole lacked quality depth as a unit. Veteran Evan Dietrich-Smith is likely to start next season, but here are a few new faces who can put him compete and possibly start if need be.

Brian de la Puente

The seven-year veteran and product of the UC Golden Bears is a journeyman of six teams and started in all but four of his 48 games played in the league. The 29-year old, who stands at 6-foot-3 and 306 lb., was an undrafted free agent who first came in the league in 2008 for the San Francisco 49ers.

De la Puente has served mostly on practice squads on the Niners, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers before finally landing regular playing time his second year with the New Orleans Saints replacing former Chicago Bears mainstay Olin Kreutz.

During his time with the Saints, the team finished as the top overall offense in 2011 averaging 467 total yards a game (first in passing, sixth in rushing). In his last two years with the team, the Saints finished second and fourth in offense.

When de la Puente left for the Bears the following year, the team finished with the 21st overall offense in an injury-shorted season that left him in injured reserve.

De la Puente made just under $800,000 for the Bears and with his familiarity with the NFC South, shouldnt be too expensive for Jason Licht and company.

Doug Legursky

Legursky is also no stranger to success signing as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. As a three-time All-Conference USA, the Marshall standout is versatile playing both at center and guard with a 6-foot-1 and 315 lb. frame.

Legursky made an impression in a big way replacing rookie center Maurkice Pouncey starting his first NFL game at Super Bowl XLV helping running back Reshard Mendenhall to a playoff career-high 121 rushing yards and one touchdown in a losing effort to the Green Bay Packers, 31-25.

During his time with the Steelers, the team finished in the top 15 in offense three of out his five years with the team (2008-2012). With Pouncey still very much in the fold, Legursky left for the Buffalo Bills in 2013 where they finished 19th in offense. Legursky was signed by the San Diego Chargers this year to replace Nick Hardwick, who was out for the season, according to ESPNs Adam Schefter.

Legursky is serviceable talent staring in 30 of his 64 games played in.

Andy Gallik

Standing at 6-foot-2 and 299 lb., Gallik started in all four years at Boston College and is a two-time All-ACC selection. According to CBS Sports, while Gallik might not have the most impressive size, athleticism or power, he makes up for it in awareness and tenacity.

Gallik also has had a huge part in helping BC achieve the 13th rank in rushing with 251.8 yards per game in 2014. He is projected to go 3-4 round.

B.J. Finney

The Kansas State prospect stands at 6-foot-4 and 324 lb. Hes been one of the most reliable at his position starting 52 straight games at the position. According to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, Finney has the proper mechanics, body angles and mobility for the NFL game.

His biggest weaknesses are that he doesnt often overpower defenders and relies too much on his upper body, sacrificing leverage and pad level. Projected as a later-round pick, he has the potential to be coached up to be a stable force on the line.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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