With Ali Marpet retiring and Alex Cappa off to Cincinnati, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are prime candidates to address guard early in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are right back in win-now mode with Tom Brady officially deciding to come back for the final year of his contract. They are instant contenders again and perhaps the NFC favorite, but there might be a few positions that they need to address, whether it be in free agency or the 2022 NFL Draft, to round out the roster.
One of the biggest questions is at the guard position. Bringing Ryan Jensen back is huge now, as Ali Marpet decided to hang it up, and Alex Cappa just signed a big deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. Maybe the Bucs believe in second-year offensive lineman Robert Hainsey to take one of the spots (he had the versatility to play along the line in his time at Notre Dame), but the other spot could be a priority in the 2022 NFL Draft.
There are two names that could be in consideration should they fall to the 27th selection. One of those guys is Boston College guard Zion Johnson. Johnson had an impressive 2021 season after moving back in to the left guard spot, and showed out at the Senior Bowl, even getting some snaps at center. He’s got an unbelievable anchor and great grip strength operating in pass protection, and offers good explosion and quicks out of his stance to reach the second level in the run game.
If Johnson’s stock has soared too much, Kenyon Green might be in play. Green was a consensus top 10 selection in mock drafts back in the summer, but positional value and other big risers have contributed to him sliding a bit. Green is still a very good player with the versatility to play both guard spots and spot start at tackle if needed.
If either of these guys are available for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’d be a slam dunk selection at 27. There are still players later in the draft to look at (Sean Rhyan, Thayer Munford) but the Buccaneers, depending on what happens later in free agency, could make the move to give Brady another great lineman to protect him for another run at a title.