Buccaneers right guard Ali Marpet has made a pretty good transition from Division III to the NFL. Now, they’re asking him to do something he’s never done before in a game.
According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers are going to experiment with moving the 2015 second-rounder at center this spring, which has meant more time hanging with quarterback Jameis Winston (or anyone else who happens to be behind him).
“I’ve been able to get with Jameis a couple of times, and otherwise, I’ve snapped with anyone who will catch the ball,” Marpet said. “I go until I feel good, whether that’s 20 snaps or 100, whatever it ends up being. . . .
“I’m a center. It’s always been in the back pocket. I can still play guard. I know. I’ve played guard. I imagine they’re not saying ‘You’re the starter, no matter what you do.’ But they like the idea, so we’re going to try it.”
That’s some confidence considering he’s never snapped in as much as a high school game. And they have veteran centers Evan Smith and Joe Hawley on the roster, so they’re not locked in if it doesn’t work. But there are indications it might.
Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Marpet could become a “dominant, next-level center.”
If that happens, and they get anything out of last year’s big-ticket free agent guard J.R. Sweezy (who is back after missing the season with a back injury), it could provide a boost for their line.