G Russ Hochstein is considered a strong drive-blocker and top competitor
With virtually no weaknesses left on the team, the Buccaneers used the fifth round to improve their depth on the offensive line, selecting guard Russ Hochstein from Nebraska with the 151st pick overall.
Described in pre-draft evaluations as a smart and dependable player with an excellent work ethic, Hochstein was one of the Bucs' considerations in the fourth round, when they selected S John Howell. Tampa Bay could be thinned at the position if unrestricted free agents Frank Middleton and Kevin Dogins do not return.
Five rounds into the draft, the Buccaneers have concentrated on just two areas: offensive line and the secondary. Hochstein joins Kenyatta Walker on the front wall while third and fourth-rounders Dwight Smith and John Howell are new weapons for the defensive backfield.
Reached by phone immediately after his selection, Hochstein called it a 'great honor' to have the opportunity to learn from 12-time Pro Bowl guard Randall McDaniel. He may plumb McDaniel's vast store of knowledge for improvement in the area of pass protection.
"I need to work on my strength and my pass protection," Hochstein admitted. "The Unviersity of Nebraska is not well know for passing offense."
Hochstein was a first-team All-America choice by The Sporting News last season, when he was a Cornhusker co-captain. He helped the always potent Nebraska offense average 459.9 yards per game.
The Buccaneers have five picks remaining, two in the sixth round and three in the seventh.