Three More Serviceable Tackles Bucs Can Target in 2015

NFL NEWS: Tampa Bay Bucs

The Bucs have been rather quiet addressing the offensive line this offseason, but there is still time to address the unit.

Despite losing out on names like Doug Free and King Dunlap, there are still some quality tackles available in the free agency market. Here are four more names who can contribute. The Bucs have been rather quiet addressing the offensive line this offseason, but there is still time to address the unit.

Dolphins_Jake_Long_1Jake Long

Long, the first overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, was a perennial Pro Bowler for the Miami Dolphins for four consecutive seasons since his rookie year. He only missed two games during that stretch. Since his last Pro Bowl run in 2011, Long’s missed 14 games due to injuries.

Long, who stands at 6-foot-7 and 322 lb., left for the St. Louis Rams in 2013 and played only 22 of 32 games for the team before being released in March. Long suffered a second torn ACL which shortened his playing time. Despite not having played a full 16-game season since 2010, Long did play 15 of 16 his first year with the Rams.

Long would be worth a risk, but not for his optimal value. Even as a rental, Long can provide the rotational depth needed should head coach Lovie Smith should draft lineman for the new offense.

Byron Bell

If there’s anyone who knows about protecting a franchise quarterback, it’s Byron Bell who spent his entire four-year career as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers. Bell, who stands at 6-foot-5 and 340 lb., started at the same time with quarterback Cam Newton, who was the firsts overall pick of the 2011 draft.

Bell would certainly be an invaluable asset for a Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, or whomever the Bucs decide to make their starting quarterback. Bell’s only missed two of 64 games in his career, starting in 56 of them. With Bell’s help, Newton’s been allowed to thrive throwing for 82 touchdowns, 14,426 passing yards, an 85.4 quarterback rating, 2,571 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns.

Bell’s spent time at the left and right tackle and is something Smith and GM Jason Licht should strongly consider given his familiarity with the NFC South division.

Jonathan Scott

Scott’s had a nine-year career bouncing around from the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons. The 6-foot-6 and 318 lb. tackle played mostly in a reserve role appearing in 71 games and starting in 35. Though he’s only appeared in only one game in the last two seasons, Smith might bring him in due to familiarity given his time in Chicago.

Scott played in all 16 games with the Steelers in 2010 under head coach Mike Tomlin, who along with Smith, fall under the Tony Dungy coaching tree.

Scott would be a serviceable lineman for rotational depth.

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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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