While left guard Ali Marpet has been with the Bucs since 2015, he hasn’t held the same position on the defensive line for more than two seasons. Marpet moved to left guard this season after the Bucs acquired center Ryan Jensen from Baltimore in free agency, making Marpet make his second transition in three years.
Originally, Marpet entered the league at right guard after being taken in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft our of Hobart College and making him the highest drafted Division III player to date. He spent 2015 and 2016 at right guard before the Bucs moved him to center for the 2017 season. Now, Marpet is between Jensen and 2015 Bucs’ draft classmate Donovan Smith on the line with different responsibilities yet again this season.
He doesn’t seem to be too concerned with the transition itself. He understands that he’ll need to be able to anchor a little bit better in order to win against a charging three-technique lineman. But other than that, Marpet doesn’t see too many differences with what he was asked to do in the past.
One difference he will notice are his opponents from this time last year. Marpet is now going up against the likes of new defensive tackle Beau Allen and on some run packages, even new defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The matchups have made for some intriguing battles in one-on-one drills during practice and are just plain fun to watch.
Not to mention just as Marpet and the offensive line are working to improve the Bucs’ rushing attack, the defensive line has made stopping the run a focus on the other side of the trenches. It makes team drills very interesting to watch as Marpet gets the hang of his new role.