Tampa Bay's offensive line got a little bit better today, as the Buccaneers selected former Penn State left tackle Donovan Smith in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Smith was selected with the No. 34 pick.
Smith came to Happy Valley as a member of the class of 2011. He was a four-star recruit, the No. 160 player in the class and the 16th-best offensive tackle in the country, according to 24/7 Sports. The Maryland native was also the fourth-best player out of Maryland that year and had a 24/7 composite score of 0.9241, which was the fourth-highest in the Nittany Lions' class that year.
After earning the team's left tackle job during his freshman campaign, Smith became a pick on every Freshman All-American team in college football. Save for two small spells where he suffered injuries and missed a few games, Smith did not relinquish the left tackle job in that time.
Smith was impressive during the pre-draft process, as he was among the combine's leaders in the vertical and broad jump. Scouts aren't 100 percent sure if he will play guard or tackle in the NFL, but he was projected to go in the second or third round of the draft, according to CBS Sports and NFL.com, respectively. Teams want to see him use his size to his advantage more frequently, but they generally like his technique and footwork. According to NFL.com, he is comparable to former longtime Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Max Starks.
Coming into the draft, one of Tampa's biggest needs was along the offensive line, and ESPN pointed out that the team was in the market for a left tackle. Current starter Demar Dotson is viewed as more of a right tackle, and played on the left side of the line more out of necessity than anything in 2014. There's no word on where the Bucs plan on putting Smith and if they think he can play right away, but seeing as how Tampa allowed 52 sacks last year -- the third-most in the league -- and the team has a new quarterback in No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston, upgrading the line was a priority.