Tennessee G Arron Sears was considered the best blocker in the SEC in 2006
The one-on-one lineman drills at training camp just got a little more interesting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After using the fourth overall pick on Clemson pass-rusher extraordinaire Gaines Adams, the Buccaneers used their high second-round selection (#35 overall) to give him a practice sparring partner – versatile and stout Tennessee offensive lineman Arron Sears.
Picking third in the second round, Tampa Bay saw two teams use trades to leapfrog their spot and grab coveted players who had 'fallen' out of the first round. Arizona traded up to the first pick of the round to get Michigan defensive tackle Alan Branch and Buffalo moved up to the second spot to take Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny.
Once again, however, the Bucs stayed put and allowed the man they wanted to fall to them. Projected as a first-rounder in some mock drafts, Sears played both tackle and both guard spots while at Tennessee but will likely concentrate on the interior positions for the Buccaneers. At 6-3 and 320 pounds, he is a roadgrader of a run-blocker, explosive out of his stance and very strong. At those spots, he won't technically be matched up with edge rushers like Adams very often, but the two can still hone each others' skills in practice.
A leader on the Volunteers' offense, Sears is considered one of the finest offensive linemen ever to come through the program. Last fall, he was the first Tennessee player to win the Jacobs Blocking Award, given annually to the SEC's best blocker, since 1990. He also earned All-America honors while leading the Volunteers with 71 knockdown blocks.
Sears started 37 games while at Tennessee, including 26 at left tackle, his position as a senior, six at right tackle, four at right guard and one at left guard. Tennessee coaches assessed him with only three sacks allowed over the course of 1,552 plays during his final two seasons.
The Buccaneers' determined efforts to rebuild their offensive line have made a huge impact on the last two drafts. In 2006, Tampa Bay used its first-round pick on Oklahoma guard Davin Joseph and its second-round pick on Boston College guard Jeremy Trueblood, both of whom became starters in 2006. The Bucs' starters at left guard in 2006 were Dan Buenning, who missed much of the year with a knee injury, and Sean Mahan, who is know a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If Sears manages to earn a starting job on the line as a rookie, the Bucs could have a front line almost completely rebuilt in the last two years. Luke Petitgout, a veteran free agent and long-time New York Giants starter acquired in March, is expected to start at left tackle and Anthony Davis may vie for playing time at left guard.
The Buccaneers used a second-round pick on a Tennessee guard just seven years ago, when they drafted Cosey Coleman 51st overall in 2000. Coleman started 63 games over five seasons as a Buccaneer. Joseph, at the 23rd overall pick, was the highest-drafted guard by the Buccaneers since 1982, when Sean Farrell was selected 17th overall. Sears is the second highest-drafted guard by the team in that span.
The Buccaneers will pick one more time in the second round, exercising the pick they obtained from Indianapolis in October in exchange for DT Anthony McFarland. That pick is the final one of the second round and the 64th selection overall.