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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Luke Goedeke's Physicality Bolsters the Offensive Line

Buccaneers second-round draft pick Luke Goedeke gears up to make his starting debut against the Cowboys on Sunday


The regular season has arrived. The roster is set and for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rookie Luke Goedeke, a starting job is entrenched. Head Coach Todd Bowles confirmed Goedeke's role on Monday, answering the last permeating question on the 53.

During training camp, the Bucs had a competitive battle at left guard. Tampa Bay drafted Goedeke in April with the expectation that he would challenge veteran Aaron Stinnie to replace retired Pro Bowler Ali Marpet. Both competed for the job, along with Nick Leverett and Brandon Walton, although Stinnie was lost to a season-ending knee injury. The rookie out of Central Michigan came out on top and will line up next to Robert Hainsey, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2021 who is stepping in for injured center Ryan Jensen. In addition, the Buccaneers have another new starter in the interior. Alex Cappa left in free agency, and subsequently, the Bucs traded for established veteran Shaq Mason. The three newcomers in the middle of the line will protect 45-year-old, Tom Brady.

In 2021, Tampa Bay led the NFL in passing yards while allowing the fewest sacks. With the new acquisitions, continuity becomes key. Goedeke, the club's second round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was a two-year starter for the Chippewas in Jim McElwain's zone-blocking scheme. At Central Michigan, Goedeke underwent a physical and mental transformation as he transitioned from tight end to playing at right tackle full-time. He gained 95 pounds to maximize production in the trenches. Despite playing exclusively at right tackle, Goedeke is a natural fit at guard with his power, stout center of gravity and the ability to anchor inside in pass protection. Repetition has maximized his growth in the adjustment process of aligning hand placement and coordination to the left side of the formation in Tampa Bay. Goedeke absorbs film every chance he gets, including in the meal room. His football retention and work ethic have impressed linemate, Donovan Smith.

"He's great," Smith smiled. "He's very smart. He is somebody who is in the film room early, he's in the film room after, so he definitely puts the time in. I'm more excited just to see him get out there and get going. I'm happy with how physical he plays; he definitely brings that to the team which is huge…He is more than capable at getting the job done and I am rooting for him, obviously. We are going to get the job done."

During his collegiate tenure, Goedeke played with a chip on his shoulder. He aimed to dominate every rep with excellent play strength and an effective first-punch. Goedeke made his way to the NFL's doorstep and now has a rare opportunity to immediately contribute in the trenches. His tenacious demeanor translates on the field and embodies the mentality of the Bucs' linemen, who Donovan Smith characterizes as "great men off the field" but "dirty dawgs on the field."

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