Rookie guard Ali Marpet is a first-teamer.
Marpet was promoted before Thursday’s practice to right guard by the Tampa Bay Bucs, leading to hope that perhaps the team can rebuild its offensive line, after all. Marpet was a second-round draft pick, and being moved to the first time less than a week into camp is a good sign.
“Just like we talk about Jameis or any of the young players, that’s a part of it,” said coach Lovie Smith. “For Ali, there is no better place for him. I mean (defensive tackle) Gerald McCoy is on the other side. He’s having to get up the pace pretty quick. He did some good things out there today. I’m very pleased with where he is. Definitely not too big for him.”
Marpet said he struggled some with the heat, but except for that, things were good.
“Going against Gerald was something else,” Marpet said. “If you can block him, you’re going to be able to block a lot of other guys in the league, so it’s awesome having a guy like him against you every play. He got me a whole lot, but knowing that I can get him if I am technically sound is huge for me.”
McCoy gave passing marks to Marpet.
I think he has all the makings to be a really good guard in this league. Obviously he made some rookie mistakes, but that’s to be expected. Overall, he definitely has what it takes to be a starting guard in the league.”