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Bucs' OTAs Bulletin: Key Position Battle to Watch at Left Guard

With voluntary OTAs fast approaching, head coach Todd Bowles sheds light on a position battle to monitor.  

TAMPA, FL - May 14, 2022 - Guard Luke Goedeke #67 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during 2022 Rookie Mini Camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Photo By Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TAMPA, FL - May 14, 2022 - Guard Luke Goedeke #67 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during 2022 Rookie Mini Camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Photo By Tori Richman/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As the NFL offseason moves along, organized team activities (OTAs) will commence for all 32 teams. Though OTAs are technically voluntary, and players do not have to be present, most do not have the security or luxury to miss. Every player fighting for a roster spot will be on the field and ready to give the non-padded practice his all. On-field learning opportunities, fundamental highlights, playbook installation, positional drills and position group meetings span the course of a couple days. Full padded practices are prohibited, along with blocking and tackling. Organizations will run a combination of 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and will implement 11-on-11 (traditionally concluding drills). 

Competition heats up during OTAs as players strive to make the coveted yet elusive 53-man roster. Work put in and production on the field because of information retention can make the difference between a promising NFL career and a brief stint donning an NFL jersey. 

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Todd Bowles disclosed the position battle he is looking forward to during OTAs: left guard.

"I want to see Luke Goedeke. We drafted him and that will be a good battle at that guard spot all summer. So, between [Aaron] Stinnie, Luke [Goedeke] and [Robert] Hainsey, I think that will be one of the better positions to watch."  

Since Bowles verbalized it, take note. The left guard role is open for the taking. Touted as the best in the NFL, the Bucs' offensive line is held in high esteem. Veteran Aaron Stinnie, second-round rookie Luke Goedeke and second-year pro Robert Hainsey will compete for a chance to win the vacant job and the heavy burden it entails, protecting Tom Brady. 

The Bucs re-signed Stinnie, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year contract back in March. He has spent the past two-and-a-half seasons with Tampa Bay after being claimed off waivers in November of 2019. Stinnie was credited for his performance in three postseason starts in the club's quest to Super Bowl LV, while stepping in for injured right guard Alex Cappa. Due to his praised performance, Stinnie competed with Cappa in 2021 for the starting job, which the Bucs gave to the incumbent. 

He first entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of James Madison in 2018 and signed with the Titans. Stinnie made the roster and appeared in six games over the next season-and-a-half before landing in Tampa. He replaced an injured Ali Marpet in Week 12 last season against the Colts. However, an injury derailed his ascension. Stinnie spent five weeks on injured reserve due to a knee injury but was activated before the regular season finale. He appeared in eight games in 2021 and now could become a mainstay in the Bucs' revered line. 

Enter, Luke Goedeke. The Buccaneers selected Goedeke with the 57th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He will have a chance to engender the coaches trust during mini-camp/OTAs as he vies for a starting spot. As a two-year starter at Central Michigan, Goedeke held down the right tackle position in Jim McElwain's zone-blocking scheme. Goedeke played tackle because of the glaring need, but his natural position is in the interior. The self-made player has a lethal punch and the ability to anchor inside in pass protection. As a run blocker, Goedeke displays play strength and finishes defenders at the second level. His passion and drive have bred success at every stop on his journey to the NFL. Now, another transition begins with the Buccaneers. 

Hainsey is looking to make a second-year jump. The Buccaneers drafted him in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. He was a three-year starter at Notre Dame, playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, starting one. Hainsey started all 13 games as a sophomore in 2018 and his 2019 season ended abruptly after eight games due to injury. He returned in 2020 to earn a second-team All-ACC selection and started all 12 games for the Fighting Irish, exclusively playing right tackle. For the Bucs, Hainsey spent the 2021 season transitioning from tackle to center and learning from Ryan Jensen. He garnered praise from coaches a year ago during mini-camp and OTAs for his development. With position flexibility, he was trained in multiple spots along the line, which will come in handy this offseason.

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